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/q/ - Quest

ADVENTURE!
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File: 1525830617732.jpg (604.64 KB, 1800x1200, 1525682344015.jpg)

 No.696652[Last 50 Posts]

Post sheets

 No.696653

>>696652

https://pastebin.com/H5jZicw9

You can't tell me what to do!

 No.696654


 No.696655


 No.696656


 No.696657

Last time on PQ…

Cerulean continued her training with the Pattern Juggler's troupe, tutored in a crash-course on circus acts by Piovy, one of the Pattern Juggler's assistants. She learned that things were not well among the troupe, as Perfect Pair had been highly agitated over the last few days while preparing for tomorrow night's performance, and had been taking it out on the troupe through perfectonism.

Alder snuck around backstage with the three thieves Squatz, Zerk and Paraiba, and found himself in conversation with Perfect Pair himself. The lead clown looked in pretty rough shape, face worn with worry.

Cloud, Cutlass and Thessaly discussed an alliance with Vich of the Skeps, and though the high-tempered pony was thoroughly ressitant to the idea of killing the Queens and leaving the island without a royal family, thus creating social instability, he was more than supportive of ousting the Crimson King, who was meddling in the island's business. When we left them, they went to investigate the death of Arroz, a member of the Honeydews, whose death was threatening to cause greater conflicts within the three Families.

 No.696658

>>696654
The talking stops, and the door opens. You see that it is Perfect Pair and that he is alone in the VIP room (a fancy lounge with catered fruit and wine in a bowl, surrounded by couches and other amenities). You see him slip a Caller Conch back into his suit's pocket. He appears very stressed and distracted. "Hmm? What do you want, what can I do for you, son?" he asks, voice heavy with worry.

>Cerulean

"What we need is better leadership," Piovy says. "Everyone's been so worked up since the Pattern Juggler got that gig for the Princess of Embers' wedding party. Perfect Pair's been the worst of it, getting all worked up when something is even slightly off or incorrect in the show, and the tirades he'll go on when we screw up is far nastier than anything the Pattern Juggler's done to us. Hmmph. It's like Pair's trying to show off or something…"

>>696655
>>696656
>>696653
>NOTE: I got locations mixed up earlier; this place where the territories meet should be east of your location and not north, my mistake.

You head east, periodically stopping to ask clarifications on directions, street names and pathways from the locals, all the while picking up occasional tidbits of speculative gossip about the death, anything ranging from suicide to freak accidents to conspiracies, though none of the speculators have much with which to back it up.

https://youtu.be/Hy5lQBvG7n4

As the sun starts to go down, you eventually learn of the site where the body was purportedly found, a waterway intersection where many of the city's boats will cut through while ferrying occupants across the city. Many people are gathered in two distinct clumps on the walkway, separated by about ten feet of space. Most look to be tough, mobster types, while others are of varying age, male and female, civilian and mafioso. On the left, you see a more eclectic bunch of races, suggestin they are the Skeps. On the right, they are nearly all beeponies, suggesting they are the Honeydews given that Arroz was one as well. Most are dressed in simple, somber black garb, and a few are openly, quietly crying.

Most of the stallions peer at the sewer entrance below, talking to one another in low, conspiratorial tones and casting suspicious gazes at any passerby.

 No.696659

>>696658
Thessaly tries not to return the suspicious gazes. "About as warm a welcome as I expected," she muses as she passively surveys the area for anything out of place that might be connected to the murder.
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.696660

>>696658

Cutlass notices what she assumes are the Skeps and walks up to them. "Is this where it happened?" she asks them as a group as if she's supposed to be here.

 No.696661

"H-Hello, Mister Perfect Pair! I was going to ask for an autograph, but… you do not look alright. Is something wrong?" he asks, tilting his head to the side.

 No.696662

>>696658
Cloud keeps a respectful distance from the two groups, knowing not to intrude on either side to get caught up deeper into this incident. He does stare down to the sewer as the others do, curious if there might be any clues or leads.
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.696663

>>696659
As you peer over the rim of the walkway, you notice that around the base of the walkway is a shore of mud and refuse. You see that much of the mud below is displaced in noticable swathes, with deep, hoof-shaped indentations very prominent where the mud meets the water. Mud splattered along the wall and near the sewer's entrance suggests a struggle.

>>696660
>>696659
"It's around here that the body was found, yep," one of the Skeps says. "Floating there, upside-down, face all blue. Hideous business. Still haven't found out what led up to it, whether he was alone or if there were witnesses, but everyone's suspecting fou–"

"I'm sorry, who are you two?" one of the Honeydew mafiosos asks, approaching.
"Right, I'll have to ask the two of you to stand at a distance, we'd prefer to have the Family only here–" the Skep says, before being cut off.
"Did you hear me tell them to leave? I said, who are you?" the mafioso repeats.

>>696661
"What isn't going wrong?" he mutters. Perfect Pair's voice, once deep, dramatic and operatic, is now high and thin with worry. He puffs himself up and forces a theatric smile. "Well, son, I'll be honest. The Juggler's out right now, along with a good amount of our fellow performers, which is why we asked for volunteer's like you. I'm sorting out the logistics right now, and… we're going to have a hard time. We've got the most 'V' of 'VIPs' coming in tomorrow, and I'm still not sure if the Juggler will be here to greet Queen Hurscurs when she arrives."

Paraiba audibly gulps when he names one of the Bee Queens.

 No.696664

>>696663

"I am Captain Cutlass," she says in an official tone as she is asked who she is a second time. "I am a neutral party in this whole affair. My only interest is getting this whole affair behind everyone so that the families can work efficiently again."

"To that end, any information you can provide would be immensely helpful," she adds with a respectful little bow.

[1d10] Whisper in your Ear

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.696665

>>696663
"Well, I would be willing to volunteer! I can sing and dance." he suggests, before humming "The Juggler is out? As in, out performing, or just not here?" he asks, scratching at the back of his neck
"You do not sound too enthused about it… do you want to?"

 No.696666

>>696663
"We are unaffiliated investigators," she answers. "As Captain Cutlass said, we simply wish to ensure peace within the families by unraveling this case. We have no qualms with any of you."

 No.696667

>>696662
>>696664
>>696666
Cloud can't seem to find any more clues at the moment, but he does recall that the body has already been taken to the higher members of the Honeydews for funerary rites. That may be a good place to look next.

"As much as we appreciate the help, he does have a point," the Skep member says. "We wish to get to the bottom of things, but the death of a Family member has to be an internal investigation, and having outsiders around just looks supicio–"
"No, no no," the Honeydew mafioso says, dripping with contrived hospitality. "You're not very good at listening. I'm just asking who they are. Please stay and have a look! It's not surprising the Skeps would need to bring in outsiders to get their own thugs in line, being led by halfbreeds and incompet–"

The Skep member quickly loses his cool, grabbing the mafioso by the coat. Other members of the two Families step in, some shouting for calm and reasoned behavior, while others jump at the chance to slip taunts at the others.

Thessaly feels an undercurrent of something she can't quite put her hoof on at the moment. She can roll perception to find out more.

>>696665
"Of course we're still putting on the show, what would we be if we didn't! I just spoke with him, and with any luck, he'll be here tonight at the Pink Wave Hotel. Since you can fly, I might have you deliver a few things for me; my assistants are strung out with extra responsibilities already. This is going to be one of our last shows. It's got to be big!"

He nods approvingly at your talents. "Good, we can put you into a little cat-and-mouse slapstick routine we're putting on for the intermission entertainment."

 No.696668

>>696667
She scoffs and rolls her eyes at the childish display of rivalry, choosing instead to focus on the vague sense she's getting, trying to reach out to it and pinpoint its source.
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.696669

>>696667

"I can't disagree with the accusation of incompetence," Cutlass says, stepping into the escalating situation. "I'm surprised they aren't more willing to accept our help."

"That being said - and do forgive me for my ignorance - isn't it a bit odd for a bee pony to be accusing someone else of being a 'half breed'? The name of your people is two other peoples mixed together. I think the first step to resolving this situation is calming down and realizing that you both have more in common than you think."

[1d10] to calm everyone down with Whisper in your Ear

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.696670

>>696667
"Of course, Mister Pair! I am just happy to help! A-And, I do not know what a cat-and-mouse routine is, but I will do my best!" he chirps, trying to keep his voice childishly chipper "Last show? Are you retiring?"

 No.696671

>>696667
>>696669
Cloud looks up from his scan of the sewer as the tussle starts to break out. He steps up to Cutlass, feeling that they should step away before this gets worse.
"Hey, we should probably give them some space. I could try to shrink us all down enough to sneak down and get a closer look unnoticed if you wanna try that."
He whispers in her ear.

 No.696672

>>696671

"Right now, my goal is to determine if this is the work of one family trying to mess with the other. If this proves fruitless - as it seems it is about to - then lets do that."

She smiles. "THIS dress won't be affected by your antics."

 No.696673

>>696672
"I thought we wanted to figure out who did the murder."
Cloud questions.
"Whatever do you mean?"
He asks in an innocent tone.

 No.696674

>>696671
She does a slight double take. "You can do that?" she whispers back in surprise.

 No.696675

>>696668
As you direct your focus to the fleeting sense, you detect the faint magical signature of a soul, though spread apart and dispersed around the area, though it clings most strongly around the Honeydew stallions. It's potently emotive, vicious, protective, vengeful and accusatory. Attuning your senses to it, you feel it getting stronger whenever a Honeydew member calls for one of the Skeps to "admit it" or to hand over the murderer. As the mood grows more tense, the energy starts spreading to the Skeps, clinging about their neck and shoulders.

"What IS that…?" Naza (one of Cutlass' lackeys) asks aloud. You can roll perception again for more information.

>>696669
>>696668
As the two of you observe the situation, you note that some of the taunting Honeydews seem quite out of it. Their taunts and insults are mixed with accusations of complicity in the murder, and rile themselves up just as much as it pisses off the Skep stallions, who are increasingly moving in protectively before the mares and foals, just as the Honeydews do.

"We Honeydews know where we are and where we came from," the mafioso retorts. "This Hive is ours. But the Skeps sure don't. They'll let anyone join their blood these days, so what's the point of the Family name, anymore? Not even when the Family Heir's not even going to be his father's own s–"

The Skep thug punches the Honeydew mafioso in the throat, causing him to cry out with a gag. The scene gets still for a moment, and the mourners start to back away as the stallions approach each other, eyes clouded with frustrations.

>>696670
"I am, at least. Been fifteen years, and I'm almost out," he says with notable glee and worry. "But even though the troupe should have everything they would need to get along without me, I'm afraid it's curtains for everyone. The civil war is going to come here next, as I'm sure you've been told already. I'm sure the Crimson King and the Queens will get you off-island before it does, but keep yourself safe anyway, kid. You're too innocent."

"This is the first I've heard of that," Squatz whispers in confusion.

 No.696676

"And, if the murder was done by one of them, that would be one step closer to solving it."

"Cease your lecherous thoughts now," she says disapprovingly with suspicious eyes.

 No.696677

>>696674
"Yea, I can grow and shrink anything. Especially ponies."
Cloud brags to the surprised reaction.

 No.696678


 No.696679

>>696675
"Hmm…" Closing her eyes, she concentrates for a moment and reaches out further to try and glean more about the source of the wandering soul.
[1d10]

>>696677
"Curious," she muses. "I have heard of such magic, but never seen it applied before. In the right hooves, it could be quite powerful. Is this a spell you have learned, or does it come from your Aura?"

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.696680

>>696675

Cutlass frowns at the fighting. "You all need to calm yourselves or else this will only get worse," she says simply before turning to Cloud.

>>696677

"Lets go."

>>696679

"Be careful with his magic," Cutlass warns Thessaly. "He enjoys doing… questionable things with it."

 No.696681

>>696675
"C-Civil War? I had not heard of it, no… I will try my best to remain out of the danger. Is the troupe going to be alright during it?" he asks, scratching at his neck "Oh! And, what would you like me to deliver?"

 No.696682

>>696676
>>696678
"I don't know what's going through your mind, I'm just offering my magic to help out here."
Cloud jests.

>>696679
"It's my own magic I learned as a colt. It's based on some nature magic I messed around with to be a little more useful than helping to grow crops."

>>696680
"Are we going with my plan, or what?"

 No.696683

>>696680
She curls her lip slightly. "How uncouth."

>>696682
"Interesting. Have you ever tested its limits? I wonder what would happen if one were to start shrinking and never stop…"

 No.696684

>>696679
>>696680
>>696677
It's hard to tell which of the two sides moves first, but once the fighting begins, it explodes into a whirlwind of coats and hooves, elbows and headbutts, kicks and grappling and shouting and spitting. As the fight breaks out, Thessaly senses the spirit's magic signature grow in power, but it starts moving deeper southwest through the city, deeper into Honeydew territory.

"It's moving," Naza notes quietly, his eyes tracing the path of the spirit's movement.
"Hmm? What's moving?" Ossie asks.
"I said that we should get moving, ask the Honeydews about our murder victim," Naza says. "We don't have a dog in this fight, and we've learned what we can. We need to find out who did it, and the Honeydews we ran into earlier seemed to have a suspect in mind. It's best to hear from their leaders who they think it is."

>>696681
"Oh, we'll all be evacuated, don't worry, kid," Perfect says. "And come in here, I don't want to give away the big reveal just yet."

He ushers you, Paraiba, Squatz and Zerk into his room. From beneath the makeup table, he draws out a large, professionally wrapped gift basket, full of wine, herbs, bottles, arcane-looking objects. "This is a little something to soften the blow of the two of us putting in our two weeks' notice."

 No.696685

>>696683

"Uncouth is likely Cloud's middle name," Cutlass says in an annoyed tone that suggests a history.

>>696682

"Yes."

 No.696686

>>696683
"Huh, never tried seeing how small I can push it. I know when I get a pony to be bigger than a dragon it gets tough to go any larger. Could probably see some nice stuff going that far in shrinking."

>>696684
>>696685
"Well whichever way we're going just let me know when to work my magic."

 No.696687

>>696684
>>696680
>>696682
She takes note of Naza's apparent attunement to the same forces that are guiding her. Almost oblivious to the row that's broken out, she starts wandering off in a southwest direction, nodding for Cutlass and Cloud to follow as she keeps tracking the soul into Honeydew territory. "There is… something here," she mumbles. "The Honeydews…"

 No.696688

>>696687
>>696686
>>696684

"Well, it seems she has a lead," Cutlass points to Thessaly and follows her.

[1d10] if necessary

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.696689

>>696684
>>696687
She suddenly snaps out of her reverie and focuses, scowling at the street brawl that's blocking her path. "Move," she says forcefully as she tries to make her way through. "Or you will be moved."
[1d10] Getting around them all

>>696686
"Now would be a good time to try your shrinking. It might be difficult getting past this rabble otherwise. I would hate for it to resort to violence on our part."

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.696690

>>696684
Alder blinks once or twice as he looks over the fantastically-prepared basket. He makes a note to return the letter and the box of gems (sans a few of the rubies) to the room he'd found them from, and nods eagerly "OF course! Where do you want me to deliver it to, Mister Pair?"

 No.696691

>>696689
"Gotcha."
Cloud looks at the group they have.
"Might take a minuteor so. Haven't tried to do a large group like this before. I usually stick to one at a time."

>>696684
Cloud's eyes glow orange as he prepares his magic, focusing on their group to shrink all of them (and their clothes) so they can move around a little easier out of sight.
>Wax/Wane [Shrink All] [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.696692

>>696686
>>696687
>>696688
>>696689
Despite some difficulty, your party manages to duck and weave through the fighting, though not without Cutlass having close calls with thrown bottles and stumbling fighters, only to be saved by Ossie from within her shadow. Yet, Cloud casts a spell on the group, shrinking them all to the size of action figures. Now, with much more room to work with, your party is able to weave through the fighting, and make it half a block away, unscathed.

Presumably, you unshrink now that you're free of the combat, and proceed further into the district. Now you're in the Honeydew territory, which despite is architectural similarities to the Skeps', has a more posh and refined atmosphere to it. Despite being run by drug manufacturers, the citizens carry themselves with dignity and respect.
"Alright, let's get asking around for some big names, and see who we can find who's a leader among the Honeydews," Kling-Klang suggests. "I suspect their leaders will be more reasonable than their meatheads, and if we explain that we're trying to resolve this, they should listen."

Naza noticably strays from the group, head tilted to the sky, looking for something.

>>696690
Perfect Pair mulls it over. "Well, it IS a bit dangerous, but if you're willing to deliver it to him now, I'd be of high gratitutde to you. He's not at his hotel, and he said he wouldn't be until near midnight or even later. It's about six right now. He's out meeting with our boss on the boss's ship, so if you head for the port…"

He slaps his forehead, then starts to look through his room for something. "Oh, what am I saying, I could just transport you! Now, what was I doing with that book, where did I leave it…"

 No.696693

>>696692

"What are YOU doing?" Cutlass asks as she follows Naza.

 No.696694

>>696692
She picks her way through the crowd, taking a moment to adjust to the change in perspective. "This is not how I thought this day would go."

After avoiding the crowd and returning to her normal size, she dusts herself off and keeps following the traces of soul through the Honeydew streets, trying to remain inconspicuous despite being surrounded by beeponies.

She also gets Naza's attention. "You feel it too, do you not? The wandering soul?"

[1d10] Navigation

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.696695

>>696692
"We should look for the most hive like building. I bet the Honeydews would probably be there."
As they walk, Cloud keeps his ears perked to pick any passing conversations or whispers about the Honeydews and clues on where to contact them.
>Eavesdropping [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.696696

>>696695
"That is a bold assumption," she remarks. "Just because they are beeponies does not mean they would live in a hive."

 No.696697

>>696692
"Book? Does the book have the name of his boat, or his address?" he asks, looking around "What do you need it for?"

 No.696698

>>696693
"I've noticed him do that a couple times now," Puddin whispers. "Wander off, look at the clouds, study the patterns on leaves, things like that. Makes me think of some old wives' tales."

"Just a little disoriented," Naza answers.

>>696694
"That's what that was?" Naza asks. "It was barely recognizable to me. It was twisted and malformed, I saw it like some kind of upside-down beast's head, stringing its tendrils around the shoulders and necks of the Honeydews. But as they got up in each others' faces, I saw it walking along them, like some kind of bottom feeder, and spread its tendrils to the others'. It's doubtless no longer a spirit, but a wandering ghost, vengeful and confused."

>>696694
>>696693
>>696695
Thessaly leads the party along, and along the way, the rest of the party assists in gathering directions, picking up scraps of information and gossip from the nearby folks, though few of the Honeydews seem willing to help you, either claiming they're busy or simply ignoring you as you speak.

Thessaly's search takes you past a shopping district to a public park; in the midst of the park, you see a stately, imperial-looking shrine, indicated by statues of religious figures and tall marble architecture with an open roof. As you approach the foot of the shrine, you see within that many black-clad mourners are gathered around a closed casket with a stallion's portrait before it. The pony in the portrait appears smug and has a notable pompadour. A few, notably older ponies, are dressed in white mourners' garb instead of black, separating them from the others.

Thessaly senses the spirit gathering before the casket.

>>696697
"The book has everything there is to know about the island, right down to the number of hairs on your head, and it can take you straight there once I explain to you how to use the bookmark."

"I think we have that book," Squatz whispers. "Do we reveal it just yet? It seems that he thinks he still has the book, so he's unaware it was given to us."

 No.696699

>>696698
"Hrm… actually, I may be able to help with that. I came upon it in the posession of some pirates earlier today. I am not sure, but… I think this may be yours, then? It seemed to have bizarre effects." he says, holding the book out for the stallion to see

 No.696700

>>696698
She looks disturbed by the description. "I merely felt… something. If what you say is true, then we will doubtless have more than just some belligerent mobsters to deal with."

"That must be him," she says as she sees the casket. "The spirit. It is here. On the casket. …Hm. Not much of a looker, was he."

>>696693
She turns to you. "Well, I have led us this far. What should we do now, captain?"

 No.696701

>>696698

"Are you saying something is making them act that way?" Cutlass asks Naza with concern. "Or is it feeding off of them?"

>>696700

Cutlass looks around the room full of mourners. "I know my limits," she sighs. "This requires a gentler touch than my own. Find whoever is in charge here and ask if we can speak with him."

 No.696702

>>696696
"Everything else seems to be bee-related around here, not too far fetched to assume their homes would be as well."

>>696698
>>696700
>>696701
"This looks like the place. Let's try not to get a fight started, especially in their own home this time."

 No.696703

>>696702

"Oh, they were going to fight anyway," Cutlass says defensively.

 No.696704

>>696701
"As you wish." She starts taking a look around for anyone that looks of particular importance, and/or anyone she recognizes among the mourners.

 No.696705

>>696704
[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.696706

>>696703
"Doubt it, they looked pretty sad. That one bee only got upset cause you walked in asking questions about it."

 No.696707

>>696706

"Well, if we're going to operate under the assumption that just asking questions starts fights, then I guess we just shouldn't investigate," Cutlass says petulantly.

 No.696708

>>696699
Confused, Perfect Pair takes the book. "Hey, wait a minute, this really is my medium! You said that pirates had it? How in the world did they get it? I haven't given the book to anyone, nor have I even used my ability lately. Believe me, I've been up to my pecs in things going wrong today, and I would've LOVED to use it to take a vacation."

"Did somebody take it to run some errands?" Zerk offers.

"I don't see how they could. Everyone around here knows not to mess with it, because nobody in the troupe is experienced enough with Aura to use it safely. At least, nobody but the Pattern Juggler… huh." He appears suspicious now, but you're not sure if it's of you or of the Juggler.

>>696700
"That's how it goes with the spirits of the wrongly-dead," Naza notes sadly.

>>696702
>>696701
>>696700
>>696704
Thessaly recognizes some of the more noteworthy members of the Honeydews among the mourners in white: Legra, a mare who oversees their banking and finances, Aegos, a stallion in charge of home and territorial security, Ciba, one of the storage house managers, and even Eurip, the nephew of the Head of the Honeydews. She notices that the spirit's energy is congregating most deeply around Aegos. The tall and red-maned pony is hunched in his chair, hooves wrung together in shame and regret. You cannot see his face from here, but it's easy to imagine that he is deep in grief, perhaps intensified by the spirit's presence.

Chiu raises a hoof. "I'll go in there and let them know who we are. Thessaly, come with me. You're our connection to the others, but if we have too many ponies in there, we'll overwhelm them. The rest of you, relax out here."

>Paused

 No.696709

>>696706
"I agree with the captain. I have a feeling these ruffians will look for any excuse to be at each other's throats. And ours too."

 No.697240

Post sheets

 No.697241


 No.697242

File: 1527299618729.png (314.9 KB, 1280x895, Silly Sharks.png)


 No.697243

File: 1527299915589.png (225.1 KB, 428x321, bird.png)


 No.697244


 No.697245

>All at full H/W

Last time on PQ…

The party visited the scene of the crime, and found that it was largely undisturbed since the body was discovered. There were very apparent signs of a struggle in the form of mud splatters along the wall by the sewer drainage pipe, causing the murder scene to look unprofessional, and like a rushed job. They weren't able to learn much before the thugs of the Honeydew and Skep Families broke into a brawl on account of the Honeydews suspecting the Skeps of aiding and abetting the murderer. The party slipped away and was able to find where the Honeydew Family was holding a closed-casket wake at a shrine in a park. Thessaly and Naza, Cutlass' slave, had tracked what they felt to be the presence of a vengeful spirit to the park.

Alder talked with Perfect Pair, and learned that the civil war brought by the Bee Queens would soon reach Aristar, and that an evacuation of the island would be soon to commence. He also learned that one of the Bee Queens, Hurscurs the eldest, would be at tomorrow night's performance.

Cerulean continued her training with the Pattern Juggler's troupe, tutored in a crash-course on circus acts by Piovy, one of the Pattern Juggler's assistants. She learned that things were not well among the troupe, as Perfect Pair had been highly agitated over the last few days while preparing for tomorrow night's performance, and had been taking it out on the troupe through perfectonism.

>>697243
Confused, Perfect Pair takes the book. "Hey, wait a minute, this really is my medium! You said that pirates had it? How in the world did they get it? I haven't given the book to anyone, nor have I even used my ability lately. Believe me, I've been up to my pecs in things going wrong today, and I would've LOVED to use it to take a vacation."

"Did somebody take it to run some errands?" Zerk offers.

"I don't see how they could. Everyone around here knows not to mess with it, because nobody in the troupe is experienced enough with Aura to use it safely. At least, nobody but the Pattern Juggler… huh." He appears suspicious now, but you're not sure if it's of you or of the Juggler.

>Thessaly

"That's how it goes with the spirits of the wrongly-dead," Naza notes sadly.

>>697241
>>697244
>Thessaly
Thessaly recognizes some of the more noteworthy members of the Honeydews among the mourners in white: Legra, a mare who oversees their banking and finances, Aegos, a stallion in charge of home and territorial security, Ciba, one of the storage house managers, and even Eurip, the nephew of the Head of the Honeydews. She notices that the spirit's energy is congregating most deeply around Aegos. The tall and red-maned pony is hunched in his chair, hooves wrung together in shame and regret. You cannot see his face from here, but it's easy to imagine that he is deep in grief, perhaps intensified by the spirit's presence.

Chiu raises a hoof. "I'll go in there and let them know who we are. Thessaly, come with me. You're our connection to the others, but if we have too many ponies in there, we'll overwhelm them. The rest of you, relax out here."

 No.697246

>>697245

"Who said SHE could take charge?" Cutlass mutters loudly in a petulant tone.

 No.697247

>>697245
"Alright, don't wanna cause another scene. Watch yourself in there."
Cloud says to Chiu's statement.

 No.697248

>>697245
"I am not sure. They had had a run-in with some… bizarre person. Perhaps it was this Pattern Juggler? Regardless, I apologize for not attempting to return it sooner."

 No.697249

>>697245
Cerulean keeps up with her training, having fun with the physical activity it is currently providing.
"So, Piovy, why's this guy angrier than me not eating anything for a few days?"

 No.697250

>>697240
https://pastebin.com/FG7PKshS

>>697245
"Sounds like a plan to me," she says as she follows Chiu, letting him take the lead this time.

>>697246
"Your captain, I'd presume."

>>697247
"Captain, permission to take the lead?"

 No.697251

>>697250

"Not MY Captain," Cutlass says haughtily.

 No.697252

>>697250
(disregard I suck dicks)

>>697246
"Well, permission to take the lead on this one, captain?" She doesn't wait for a response. "Grand. Chiu, take the wheel. I trust you on this one." She smirks haughtily.

>>697247
"We will be on our best behaviour."

 No.697253

>>697252

Grumble. Grumble.

 No.697254

>>697246
"Which 'she' do you mean, captain?" Ossie asks.

>>697247
>>697247
>>697250
Chiu and Thessaly head into the shrine. The mourners do not react to their presence, until a glowering Aegos slams the arm on his chair in mournful frustration.
"Please calm down," Legra, a tall thin white beepony, says. "This is a place of mourning. The Skeps may deal with us like barbarians, but we won't be brought to their level. We'll file suit tomorrow and have the murderer brought before Father by the end of the day."
"I'll have him before Father in a bag if I'm allowed any say in it," Aegos growls. Thessaly feels the spirit's presence spike about him, hanging about his neck and shoulders.
Legra winces at her brother's anger, then turns and looks at you. "Ah! Hello," she says, seeming to greet you more out of an excuse to detach from Aegos. "Have you come to pay respects as well? I don't believe I've gotten your names."

>>697248
"No, no, don't worry about it, son," Perfect Pair says. "We haven't had any run-ins with pirates all the way up here, so if they had it, it means either the Pattern Juggler gave it to them, or they took it from him, and he's too crafty for it to be the latter. Anyway…"

He reaches into a desk drawer, and retrieves a bookmark, with one side red and the other blue, marked "Destination" and "Detour" respectively. "There are actually two bookmarks for the Guidebook. The one in the Guidebook is actually less powerful than the one I have here. For convenience's sake, we'll call this the 'Master Bookmark.' If you focus your Aura into the Master Bookmark, you can change the position of the one in the book. If you imagine a specific destination that is listed in the Guidebook, you can move the Guidebook's bookmark to the page on which the location is marked. This will transport the holder of the book, and those whom the holder considers his allies, to the location on the page. This allows whoever holds the Master Bookmark to control the Guidebook remotely, but of course, the person holding the Guidebook can also change their own bookmark themselves to set their own destination. Does that make sense so far?"

>>697249
"The word is that, on top of having to perform for the Crimson King's daughter – that demon girl who goes through husbands like grocery bags – we're also going to have to perform for one of the Bee Queens tomorrow night," Piovy confides. "And…" she hesitates with a guilty look. "Well you didn't hear this from me, but there's rumblings that the civil war is a lot closer to Aristar than anyone previously imagined. They say that some of the Bee Queens' inquisitors have already entered the city in disguise, against the will of the Three Families, and are looking for ponies who have connections to the overthrowing of the previous Royal Family fifty years ago."

 No.697255

>>697254
"Yikes, that sounds pretty bad. So then this guy must REALLY be on edge then. And I bet you all are in case some freak thing happens mid-show or something." Cerulean does a jump, but is having trouble sticking the landing, though she keeps trying.
"Though fifty years is a pretty long time ago."

 No.697256

>>697254

"Chiu," Cutlass grumbles. "She's so… gah."

 No.697257

>>697256
>>697254
"She's great with this stuff, we'll have this whole ordeal over before you know it."

 No.697258

>>697254
"Did he give it to them to deny you your chance at relaxation, or is he just… funny like that, as I have heard some say?" the griffon asks, before leaning in to listen to his explanation intently "I see. So, the book is capable of transporting the user large or fine distances, and the two bookmarks have similar abilities, but different levels of power. Is Detour a… temporary stop, then? As in, if you were to place a detour in one spot, and a destination in the other, would it take you to each place in that order?"

 No.697259

>>697257

"I'm only delegating to her and Thessaly because Thessaly knows these people more than I do."

 No.697260

>>697254
She seems rather surprised at how much the victim meant to the Honeydews. She wasn't expecting a glorified mob to care so deeply about the death of one of their own. At the presence of the spirit lingering around Aegos, she stares at the wraith curiously, but does not engage.

"My name is Thessaly, and this is Chiu," she answers, extending her hoof in greeting. "We have no relation to the deceased, nor are we affiliated with any of the major players on this island. We are a neutral party investigating the death, so the responsible can be brought to justice." Her gaze lingers on Aegos and the spirit seemingly swaying his emotions before looking back to Legra. "If you do not mind, we have a few questions relating to the case."

If she agrees, she proceeds to ask a few questions. If not disregard this part.

"Firstly, I would like to know where Arroz was seen last, before the incident. Would you happen to know, or know of anyone that could point us in the right direction? Every little bit of information helps."

"Secondly, I understand that your family does not get along with the others nine times out of ten, but murdering a rival would seem to cause more problems than it is worth. Did Arroz have any real enemies of his own? What would make him in particular a target?"

"Finally, who would you say knew him best? And how well did you know him yourself? Obviously you are all family, but the family is quite large, and I imagine not everyone knows everyone too well. For this investigation, it would be best to ask his closest relations. Immediate siblings, parents, close friends, significant others, etcetera."

 No.697261

>>697259
"Right, gotcha. Nothing to do at all with you being terrible at talking with ponies."

 No.697262

>>697255
"Yeah," Piovy groans. "Perfect Pair is a worrier at the best of times, but he's basically drilled it into our heads that if we screw up on this show, it's all our necks on the line… literally. Both the Bee Queens and the Princess of Embers are beyond picky."

"I don't know all the details, but they say the previous rulers wwere thrown off this island by the Three Underworld Families, because the royal family had been allowing the Crimson King and Princess of Embers to exploit the island's natural resources for another one of her weddings. There was a lot of fighting and a lot of dead. You would think that the old royals would have found another island to make a new life on. Well, I suppose they might have, but these new Bee Queens came back for revenge. They're currently waging war on all the usurpers from other parts of the island, and have left Aristar and the Three Underworld Families alone for the most part, but… based on what I've heard, that might change soon.

"But at least we'll be evacuated before then!" Piovy says with forced cheerfulness. "The boss gave us his word that we'd be included in the evacs, first-class seating."

>>697258
"Oh, you know how some bosses are. Some days they're one person, and on other days, they're totally different. That's the Pattern Juggler, only he changes his whims about once every hour," Perfect Pair says with exasperation.

Paraiba nods when you bring up the Detour side. "Yeah, on that note, why even have two bookmarks or a two-sided bookmark to begin with?" she asks. "Wouldn't that make the ability harder to use?"

"Actually, I came up with this ability when I was a strapping young stallion first getting my start in the ring. It was designed for two performers to use cooperatively, as part of magic tricks requiring teleportation, such as the one where I put you in a box and stab a bunch of swords through the box, only for you to show up magically unharmed elsewhere. It was only after I studied Aura under Master Cangrejo that I developed this ability into an all-purpose transportation tool. And yes, that's the idea behind 'Detour.' When used to its fullest potential between two cooperating parties, this ability can bounce you all around the island in mere minutes!"

"So someone else was teleporting us earlier…" Squatz whispers to himself.

"Anyway, that's a whole lot of gab out of me. Are you still willing to take the gift basket to the Pattern Juggler for me, or was there anything else I could help you with beforehand?"

 No.697263

>>697260
>>697256
>>697257
"A neutral third party?" Legra asks.
"That's correct. We're not from this island," Chiu adds.
"I see," Legra offers, subtly studying the both of you. "Whether you are travelers or pirates, I'm quite glad for your help, as will the rest of the Family in due time. I'll help how I can, but please understand if the rest of the Honeydews are more reticent.

"To answer your first and second question together, I'm afraid that Arroz would have had more enemies within the Family than without. He was very public in his distaste for our manufacture and sale of Meli – the hallucinogen, if you are not familiar – and openly wanted to discontinue its production and sale. But even if the rest of the Family greatly opposed him on this, I have a hard time believing that anyone would KILL him over that.

"It's hard to tell who knew him best; he was one of those ponies whom everyone knew rumors about, but nothing concrete. He was always whirlwinding about town, talking to someone or another, making more connections than even he could keep track of, I suspect. But I knew he was sweet on a mare named Khelos – from outside the Family.

"I don't know where she is. But I DO know that she is the reason that we have a prime suspect in the first place, a pony named Lazul of the Skep clan. Khelos was formerly engaged to him, until one day, she simply wasn't. The talk of the town was that Arroz had something to do with it, but beyond that, I really don't–"

There's a sudden loud wooden clattering sound from behind Legra, causing her to spin around, and for others to look up in shock. It doesn't repeat, but everyone still looks alarmed and surprised.

 No.697264

>>697262
"W-Wow… that is a truly fascinating ability, Mister!" the griffon chirps, a little awestruck more than anything else. He clears his head with a quick shake to get back on topic, and nods eagerly "I-I would be more than willing to, yes! Which way should I head from here?"

 No.697265

>>697263
"We understand," she answers. "I see no reason not to be suspicious of outsiders poking around in family business. I assure you, however, we have no ill intent. Peace between the families is our largest concern, especially in the face of the coming turmoil."

"Interesting," she muses as she hears of his opposition to Meli production. "That certainly would have a few heads turning. Do you know why he was against it so?"

"Hm. Khelos, and Lazul. That should be enough of a lead to get us somewhere. Lazul should be easy enough to locate, and from there we should be able to find her…"

She arches an eyebrow at the sudden sound, looking around for the source. She also quickly glances at Aegos, to see if the spirit is still affecting him.

[1d10] Perception, if I need it

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.697266

>>697261

"Excuuuuse me?" Cutlass responds angrily. "Who's the one here literally raising an army with the power of speeches?"

>>697263

Cutlass hears the sound and her eyes immediately dart in that direction. She looks around to see what caused the sound. [1d10] if necessary

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.697267

>>697262
Cerulean took all this information in, nodding all the while as she processed it as best as her sharky brain could. But there was one question that was nagging at her.
"What's first-class? Oh, and what's this Princess of Embers like? I've heard the Crimson King is a huge barnacle head, but haven't heard much about her aside from the grocery bag thing you said."

 No.697268

>>697266
"Yea but you caused plenty of fights, and that last group we just talked too didn't go out so well."

>>697263
Cloud's ears perk up as the wood clatters, head darting to what caused it.
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.697269

>>697268

"Eeeh, they were gonna fight anyway," Cutlass says, waving a dismissive hoof.

 No.697270

File: 1527306019329.jpg (60.97 KB, 800x566, boat.jpg)

>>697264
Perfect Pair looks at an old grandfather clock in the corner, and you see it's about 6:20 PM. "From what he told me, he won't be at the Pink Wave Hotel until midnight at the earliest, and more likely it'll be later than that. Hmm… we'd better do this quickly if we expect to be rehearsed enough before tomorrow."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgpJ0WJwiks

His eyes glow yellow with an aura sheen, and the Guidebook flips open to one of the last pages. You see a great illustration of a massive boat, as tall as a watchtower and sprawling as a small town, on the page, and the book's usual rambling details below. "Head for the captain's lounge on the third level of the ship, and ask for the Pattern Juggler. Feel free to drop my name as much as you need."

The Guidebook's bookmark lands on the page, "Destination" side up.

In a flash, you, Paraiba and Squatz are teleported onto one walkway of the massive ship, on the first level, feeling very small indeed as you look around the massive boat. The crewmembers are bestial and frightening, many of them tall and hulking, their bodies like twisted parodies of animal forms, reminiscent of Cangrejo.

After a few moments, Zerk poofs into existence next to you. "Woah! Teleported again! What happened, what did I miss?"

>>697268
>>697265
>>697265
Most of the shrine is made of marble, with the only wooden furniture being the chairs and the casket. You hear the sound again as one of the casket's lids starts to tremble and shake. Many of the mourners back away, aghast and disturbed. Thessaly feels a powerful spike of spiritual energy congregating around the casket as it shakes.
Legra's front hooves shake as she stands her ground. She shuts her eyes and exhales. "I suppose you are aware of how dark of a coincidence it is that this happens as you arrive; I am not accusing you of anything, but I trust you will understand if we want your unquestioning assistance in dealing with whatever is about to happen."

>>697267
"First class? It's like…" Piovy takes note of your sharkish form. "Think about it like getting a freshly-made tray of sushi while the chefs give all the other customers all the stuff that's been sitting out all day. First class means you get the best treatment out of everyone because you're the most important."

"I don't know too many people who have met her besides the Pattern Juggler, Perfect Pair and the rest of the Crimson King's closest allies. I haven't met her, but from what I've heard from everyone, she's actually a pretty sweet person. Everyone is afraid of her because of her dad, and while I can understand that, if you get the two apart, and you catch her in a good mood, she's a generous person. I've heard she does philanthrophic work on other islands, but with the wedding going on… the latest of a hundred… she's been too busy for it."

 No.697271

>>697270

As the casket shakes, Cutlass comes rushing toward Thesally and company. "It's probably the same fungus in those bees," Cutlass shouts out, unsure if anyone on the island is even aware of it. "It seems to grow in dead bodies. Nobody touch it!" she shouts so everyone can hear and back away.

She telekinetically draws two daggers from beneath her dress and points them threateningly at the coffin.

 No.697272

>>697270
"Whoa, what's going on in there? Can any of you sense if that guy is coming back to life?"
Cloud asks the group outside as he looks on to the casket.

 No.697273

>>697270
"Oh, I very much doubt this is a coincidence," she responds dryly as she stands ready to defend herself from whatever is about to burst out of the coffin. She takes note of the nearby fire and tries to conjure a minion from it to aid her. "Perfect. Dóiteán."
[1d10+1] Unholy Elementalist

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.697274

>>697270
"O-Oh, goodness. This ship certainly is imposing." he says, before looking to Zerk "O-Oh! I am just dropping something off. I went into the back to see what I could see. Now, if I could just drop this off, we can return! There is something I must do, e-ehehe…" he says, before ambling on towards the lounge
>[1d10] Perception, anything good around?
"T-These crew members are… eugh."

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.697275

>>697270
"Woah. First-class sounds really amazing!" With some energy from envisioning herself, she thinks she might finally have that landing down.
"Huh…and here I thought you were gonna say she's a huge jerk like her dad…wow…now *I'm* the one who feels like a barnacle head…."

 No.697276

>>697273
>>697272
>>697271
Legra glances sideways at Thessaly's language, when the casket's top erupts off with a shower of wood, casuing the gathered mourners to back away in terror. From the casket rises the body of Arroz, a pony who could otherwise be called handsome were it not for his being a corpse, his body lightly bloated and the head coated in makeup, especially around the neck, in an obvious attempt at hiding the damage from his demise. His body jitters around as it climbs out of the casket, its movements jerky and puppetlike. Its mouth is freakishly drawn back in several corners in a mad snarl, and the eyes are milky and white, unseeing and unthinking. Many of the mourners cry out in horror at the sight.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMSmi8ZOSno

At the same time that the body rises from the casket, Aegos clutches his head, his expression twisting up in anger and confusion. Even those who can otherwise not sense spiritual power feel an ominous presence gathering about him as his eyes lightly glow. "Son of a bitch! Dammit! Which one of you did this!?" he demands.

The body of Arroz flings itself at Thessaly, striking at her.

[1d10+2]

>>697274
You head through the ship, and it's certainly an impressive spectacle; many boxes being moved around and inspected contain high-quality loot, marble busts and statuettes of deities, herbs and spices, and many scrolls and the like of various languages. However, they are closely guarded by vile-looking beastial crewmembers.
"Hey now, appearances aren't everything," Zerk says. "Don't be prejudiced."
"They're demons," Paraiba deadpans.
"Now that's just rude."

After getting directions, you make your way up to the second level of the massive boat, and then the third. Upon hearing from one of the members that the entrance to the captain's lounge is at the front of that level, you make your way around there, only to be forced to stop.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPLoIV6aiU8
A large crowd has gathered outside the lounge, and a ferocious dance is taking place outside to the tune of music within, with revellers and dancers forming a wall of bodies that seems quite difficult to pass.

>>697275
"They're both demons, so I don't think even they could blame you for coming with that impression," Piovy says.
As you talk with Piovy, you see Perfect Pair coming out of the VIP area, clutching a bookmark. It appears identical to the one that was in the Guidebook that teleported you and the Beesting here earlier. As he spots you, he swells up and puffs out his chest. "Hey, new gal!" he greets in his deep and operatic voice from earlier. "Enjoying the stage life? I've got a quick update for you. We'll be situating all of our guest stars in the Pink Wave Hotel tonight, free of charge, with unliiiiiiiiimited room service! This is just a little thank-you for agreeing to stick around and perform tomorrow in spite of the difficulties that the Pattern Juggler's half of the troupe seems to be having with transportation. Oh, and if there's anyone else with you, you can bring them along to the hotel as well. It's all being funded by the Crimson King himself! You may even get to meet him and his daughter there tonight if you're lucky."

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10

 No.697277

>>697276
While that bookmark diiid seem interesting, being told she was getting free stuff at the expense of the Crimson King, she could bring her friends, AND there was a chance at meeting him; well, that just kinda overrides the bookmark in her mind.
"Woah, really?! So this is what first-class is like!" Her tail slaps the ground happily.
"Thank you so much! I mean, its no big deal to me cause I don't like sitting still for too long, but still, thank you!"

 No.697278

>>697276
"Ah, shite." Her lip curls at the sight of the revenant, taking a step back as it threatens to attack her. With little time to dodge, she makes some mystical gestures and tries to cast a crippling hex on it. "Mallacht na baintrí ort."
[1d10+1] Exequy

>Exequy: spell, recharge 2 after effect ends; Thessaly places a curse upon an enemy, crippling them with dark magic. The target auto-critfails its next roll, and on a crit the target is rendered unable to attack on the next turn. If an enemy gets multiple rolls per turn, the first of those rolls is the one affected by Exequy.


>>697271
>>697272
"I will be needing some of its blood," she says to you as if she were discussing the weather. "Be good and spill some for me, if you can."

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.697279

>>697278
"Scrios Dé. I suppose it has been a while…" She looks annoyed.

 No.697280

File: 1527309557940.gif (27.5 KB, 120x89, wiggle.gif)

>>697276
"I-I mean, it is not rude if it is true, yes? It would be like calling me a griffon."

Alder looks around the crowd a little bit, and shrugs to the others before covering the gift basket and trying to squeeze through where he can. Shouldn't be too hard, right?
>[1d10] wiggle wiggle wiggle

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.697281

>>697276
As the corpse rises up and flies out, Cloud's eyes glow as he attempt to shrink it down, the best way he can see to dull the situation but not anger the family by ruining the body more.
>Wax/Wane [Shrink] [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.697282

>>697276

"Sorry in advance," Cutlass says to everyone as she launches a dagger. She aims not for the pony himself, but his clothes. She tries to pin him to a nearby wall by his clothes.

[1d10] for precision ranged shot!

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.697283

>>697280
"They are!?" Zerk asks in shock.
You wiggle your way through the crowd, while Zerk, Pariaba and Squatz, seeming less into the beat, are forced to slink through along the sides, and in the process, end up trailing behind you and eventually end up lost.
You on the other hand make it through the crowd, and enter the lounge area. It's a multi-level room, shaped like a horseshoe, with plenty of tables and couches for the attendants. A terrible aura of power emanates from each of those inside, nearly stopping you in your tracks as you enter. There are dozens of people inside, and the Pattern Juggler's location isn't immediately clear.

>>697277
"Oh, don't worry about it, it comes with the performance! If you're really feeling grateful, then be sure to put on a good show tomorrow. In fact, that's really what I wanted to come talk to you about," Perfect Pair says. "See, you're the first sharkpony we've had around the ol' tent, and I'd like to make use of a prop we haven't had the chance to use in a while: The Shark Tank! But, I wanted to run the idea by you first. Wouldn't want you to feel… you know, profiled, or anything."

>>697282
>>697281
>>697278
Arroz's corpse strikes Thessaly across the face, drawing blood from her mouth, then wheels around, barely dodging beneath Cutlass' knife which scrapes through the collar on his suit.
>Thessaly 1/5
Cloud's spell from afar then shrinks him to about 75% of his current size. Yet, though his body grows smaller, a tremendous black aura still surrounds him in his original shape. There seems to be something off about the aura, something in the way it moves. You can roll perception, instant, to find out more.
Aegos grips his head as his eyes suddenly turn white, and he strikes at Cutlass next, while Arroz charges for Cloud. Make Believe rushes into the battle, branishing a small gold case with him.
[1d10+3] Aegos uses Suppress on Cutlass
[1d10+2] Arroz attacks Cloud
[1d10+2] Chiu raises a shadow.
[1d10+2] Make Believe draws a sticker from the case and tries to put it on Aegos.

Roll #1 3 + 3 = 6 / Roll #2 2 + 2 = 4 / Roll #3 4 + 2 = 6 / Roll #4 7 + 2 = 9

 No.697284

>>697283
She flinches at the blow, wiping the blood away, then tries to conjure binding tentacles to restrain the corpse. "Cuirfidh mé bac ort."
[1d10+1] Shackles

Shackles: spell; Thessaly conjures shadowy tentacles to bind a target in place, rendering them immobile for 1d3 turns. On a crit, this roll also gets a +1 bonus, but the effect cannot last more than 3 rounds. A Shackled target may roll to break free of the spell, and doing so counts as an instant action if successful. Larger targets may be more resistant or outright immune to Shackles. (Kamer)

She also takes note of the black aura surrounding it, examining it curiously.
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10 / Roll #2 3 = 3

 No.697285

>>697284
[1d3+1]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.697286

>>697283
"I've heard of a shark cage, but that was to keep ponies away from me. Can you tell me more, it does sound very interesting, though."

 No.697287

>>697283
Alder gives his wings a good, hard flap, and tries to use what room there is to get a view from over people's heads, rather than under them. If there's a fixture from the ceiling near, he'll latch on to it and peer around. He also tries to spot the others he came in with, if he can
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.697288

>>697283
"Whoa whoa hey!"
Cloud jumps out of the way of the corpse to avoid it.
"Somepony grab the coffin so we can put him back!"
>Dodge [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.697289

>>697286
"You don't know what a shark tank is?" Perfect Pair asks. "Hahaha! What, have you been living under a hermit crab's shell all these years? We throw performers into a shark tank all tied up and bound and gagged, and they have mere moments to free themselves before the sharks devour them! But, I'm thinking that, with you being a shark, we might change up the formula. Would you like to see them?"

>>697287
You perch on a chandelier and survey the area as harpies and hippogriffs fly around, carrying trays of drinks and snacks. You soon spy the Pattern Juggler sitting near the top, on a velvet couch across from a figure who appears at first glance to be a floating pillar of fire. Yet, the top of the pillar is no mere flame, but a feminine figure wreathed in white smoke, griffonlike in bodily shape, with a long set of frills like a cockatiel's, that curl all around her body from top to bottom. You can't quite hear what they're saying from here, nor do you see the rest of your allies.

>>697284
>>697288
Cloud ducks under Arroz's wild swinging, the corpse's movements janky and unfocused. Thessaly spots a key opportunity and shackle the corpse's back legs to the ground with magic. The corpse tries shambling toward her again, even as the tension of the shackles wears at his back legs. To her, the aura outline appears to be moving deliberately around the mouth, but she can't make out what it might be saying.
[1d10+2] attempting to break free
Aegos slams Cutlass to the ground, and a blue aura surrounds his body in the shape of armor, but then begins to spread around Cutlass's neck. From within her shadow, Ossie's hooves push against Aegos to throw him off.
[1d10+2]
Meanwhile, Make Believe tries to puts a sticker resembling a schoolteacher on Aegos, but the sticker lands on Aegos' armor-like aura, and has no visible effect on him. Make Believe tries to punch through the aura.
[1d10+2]
Chiu's shadow tries to drag Aegos off of Cutlass.
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8 / Roll #2 9 + 2 = 11 / Roll #3 6 + 2 = 8 / Roll #4 10 + 1 = 11

 No.697290

>>697289
>>697284
>>697288
>and doing so counts as an instant action if successful. Larger targets may be more resistant or outright immune to Shackles. (Kamer)

Arroz manages to pull himself free of the shackles, but part of his left hind leg comes off as a result, exposing bone and muscle beneath. Small white parasites start to drip from the open wound, and he strikes again at Thessaly. [1d10+2]
One of the mourners gasps at the sight of the white parasites, and runs for the flame burning before the shrine's marble idol.

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3

 No.697291

>>697289
>>697290
"Oh, it's beautiful," she snarks at the sight of the parasites. She sidesteps the incoming attack, reaches out to the flames again and tries to summon a fire elemental. Dóiteán, I said. Stubborn little…"
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9

 No.697292

>>697291
>Evoker: When Thessaly conjures a minion via Unholy Elementalist, roll an additional 1d10 on a success. On a pass, the minion is raised with an additional 2 hits for a total of 5/3. On a crit, the minion gains 1 hit and 1 wound, bringing it to 4/4. On a critfail, the minion is hostile and gets no bonuses. (Amnis: +1)

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4

 No.697293

>>697290
>>697289
Cloud takes a breath as he avoid the corpse's flailing, not wanting to be touched by it. Seeing the white parasites crawling over the exposed flesh, he takes a few steps back, keeping as much distance as possible. Glancing back to the coffin, Cloud runs over to grab it and toss it down towards Arroz, eyes glowing as he warps the wood to reach up and pull the corpse back inside.
>Earthen Grasp [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.697294

>>697289
Cerulean mulls it over in her head a bit. She's never heard of such a trick before, but then again, there's been a lot of new things lately. Plus, its all part of the show, right? Nobody is bound to be hurt by this, right?
"Alright, sure! It'll be nice to know and all in the future."

 No.697295

>>697289
"Hrm… Well,there he is, at least." the griffon remarks, trying to work his way over to the clown… sort of guy. He waits a for a little next to them, feigning going over his lines in his head (but actually listening in), before gives him a little wave and approaches them. He sets the basket down "Hello, Mister Juggler? Perfect Pair wanted you to have this!"

 No.697296

>>697294
"Follow me then, it's just right this way."

Perfect Pair leads you further backstage, and you notice Piovy trailing behind you despite not being invited. Back here, the warehouse-like storage room expands, and you see that this is where the larger and more complex props, such as safety nets and towers for trapeze lines, are stored. In the back, you see a very large tank, decorated like an aquarium, complete with fake castles and treasure and the like. Four sharks swim about in it, looking rather bored. But as you approach, their interest rises, and they circle about to get a better look at you.

>>697293
>>697292
>>697291
Cloud's vines bind the corpse to the coffin, while Thessaly's magic animates the fire, causing the mourner who ran toward it to back away knowingly. Meanwhile, Ossie and Chiu'd shadow free Cutlass from Aegos' pin, and Make Believe's strike breaks through the aura armor just long enough to pin the sticker to Aegos' body. Aegos stands up right in surprise, failing to attack for the turn.

>>697295
As you float over to the table, the Pattern Juggler gives somewhat of a start at your sight. "Ah! I remember you. What was that ship called, anyway? You know, the one I attacked? The Beekeepers, right? Yes, that sounds… close enough. You brought me something from him? Oh, I'll bet that wife of his demanded to have it sent to me, something to tide me over in the wake of their retirement. Now that's an awful shame to have them gone, but they have put in more than their share of years. Come on, have a seat, Alder, you're going to have a drink with me before you go! I was just in the middle of discussing something or other with the Princess here."

Without waiting for a response, the Pattern Juggler tugs you down to the couch with his telekinesis, and as you are forced to sit, a regal-looking beepony in a short purple robe sits beside you.

"Good to have you back with us, your Majesty! Look what our friend Alder has brought for us!" The Pattern Juggler declares, holding up the gift basket.

>Paused

 No.697796

Post sheets

 No.697797


 No.697798

File: 1528940764235.jpg (61.36 KB, 640x635, Smash.jpg)


 No.697799

File: 1528940997247.jpg (170.05 KB, 1280x720, ubereats.jpg)


 No.697800

File: 1528941326360.png (24.42 KB, 400x400, Eyenoculars_1.png)


 No.697801


 No.697802

Last time on PQ…

Alder, teleported by the power of Perfect Pair's guidebook, found himself on a massive ship, as wide as a small island and incredibly tall, full to the brim of demonic crewmates and piles upon piles of treasure, exotic merchandise, and gold. Seeking the Pattern Juggler, he soon found him in a lounge on one of the upper decks.

Thessaly, Cloud and Cutlass, aided by Chiu, Ossie and Make Believe, were fighting with the risen zombie of Arroz, at his own funeral. The mourners were dismayed by the sight, but stood clear as our heroes attempted to put down this corpse, which was infested with the fungal parasites that had also been in the corpses of the bee guards seen earlier in the day.

Cerulean continued her training with Perfect Pair and Piovy, and then, after expressing interested in the shark tank, was taken over there to meet the sharks.

>>697798
"Follow me then, it's just right this way."

Perfect Pair leads you further backstage, and you notice Piovy trailing behind you despite not being invited. Back here, the warehouse-like storage room expands, and you see that this is where the larger and more complex props, such as safety nets and towers for trapeze lines, are stored. In the back, you see a very large tank, decorated like an aquarium, complete with fake castles and treasure and the like. Four sharks swim about in it, looking rather bored. But as you approach, their interest rises, and they circle about to get a better look at you.

>>697800
As you float over to the table, the Pattern Juggler gives somewhat of a start at your sight. "Ah! I remember you. What was that ship called, anyway? You know, the one I attacked? The Beekeepers, right? Yes, that sounds… close enough. You brought me something from him? Oh, I'll bet that wife of his demanded to have it sent to me, something to tide me over in the wake of their retirement. Now that's an awful shame to have them gone, but they have put in more than their share of years. Come on, have a seat, Alder, you're going to have a drink with me before you go! I was just in the middle of discussing something or other with the Princess here."

Without waiting for a response, the Pattern Juggler tugs you down to the couch with his telekinesis, and as you are forced to sit, a regal-looking beepony in a short purple robe sits beside you.

"Good to have you back with us, your Majesty! Look what our friend Alder has brought for us!" The Pattern Juggler declares, holding up the gift basket.

>>697797
>>697799
>>697801
>Thessaly 1/5
>Cutlass 0/4
Cloud's vines bind the corpse to the coffin, while Thessaly's magic animates the fire, causing the mourner who ran toward it to back away knowingly. Meanwhile, Ossie and Chiu's shadow free Cutlass from Aegos' pin, and Make Believe's strike breaks through the aura armor just long enough to pin the sticker to Aegos' body. Aegos stands up right in surprise, failing to attack for the turn.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Kp5otTcl24

Arroz's jaw flails open, dripping a black pus. The zombie slobbers, apparently attempting to communicate something, but only bizarre snarls come out, unintelligible. A thundering black aura accumulates about his body, and you feel a deep chill, somewhere between awe and a primitive sense of danger. Suddenly, the black aura streams out from him in a wave, washing over everyone involved in the battle, but noticably avoiding all of the bystanders who aren't involved.

>Roll mental resistance, instant


[1d10+2] Ossie
[1d10] Chiu
[1d10+3] Make Believe

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #2 10 = 10 / Roll #3 9 + 3 = 12

 No.697803

>>697802
"What's going on? Get that fire on there already!"
Cloud shouts out as Arroz screams out his aura, takes a few steps back and bracing himself.
>Resist [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.697804

>>697802
>>697803
"You do not have to tell me twice. Cosaint a thabhairt. Deireadh a chur le." She casts a spell of mental warding to defend against the pulse before answering with a magical blast of her own. The conjured fire elemental, taking a vaguely bipedal form, flickers and lashes out at the body of Arroz in turn.

[1d10] Resist

[1d10+1] [1d10+1] Magic Bolt

[1d10] Fire Elemental attack

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 9 + 1 = 10 / Roll #3 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #4 1 = 1

 No.697805

>>697802

Cutlass looks at the zombie and the aura it creates as a sudden thought comes to her. She resists the mental attack. [1d10]

Then, she uses her soul sight to see into it. [1d10] for Soul Sight

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 4 = 4

 No.697806

>>697802
Alder winces a little bit, not exactly eager to have been remembered by the Pattern Juggler "U-Uhm… I suppose, yes. I-It was the Beesting."

At the mention of sitting down for a drink, he hurriedly shakes his head and turns to leave, but it seems Pattern Juggler has other plans. He lets out a startled chirp, and gives the Princess a nervous little wave "Y-Yes. I was playing carrier pigeon, I suppose."

 No.697807

>>697802
Cerulean follows, and tilts her head at the aquarium. She approaches the other sharks as natural instincts kick in and her interest is also piqued, circling around a bit on land to do the same at they're doing. She practically forgets Perfect Pair is in the room with her.

 No.697808

>>697803
As the black wave consumes you, dark spots fill your vision, blotting out the world. In a moment, your vision clears, and you see Cutlass stabbing an array of knives into Arroz's body. Suddenly, dozens, if not hundreds, of white parasites explode out of his body, spilling over everyone nearby. Chiu and Thessaly are the first to fall, screaming in agony as the parasites bite into them. The guests flee while the Honeydew bosses try to fight back

>>697804
Your magic bolt pierces the black wave and explodes upon Arroz's body, exposing more of the underlying parasite-infested rot. You are awash in the black aura, and your vision fills with darkness, as if you had plunged into the ocean. When your vision clears, you see Arroz grip the fire elemental in his aura and toss it at the shrine's walls behind him, where it explodes, wreathing the area in flame. The fire spreads along the walls into the seating area, quickly lapping up the wooden chairs, and the mourners start to flee in terror. However, they congest the exits, and you see people start to fall, at risk of being stampeded in the panic.

>>697805
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbSMOpLn5OY
Your sight is blocked by the onslaught of black aura, which spreads across your field of view, blotting out everything. A heavy impact hits you in the chest, knocking you to the ground and the wind from your lungs. As your vision clears, you see Arroz has pinned you to the ground, roaring and snarling as he starts to rip into you. You hear Ossie screeching in horror below you, as the white parasites swarm and gnash at her with their tendrils.

[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]
Mystery rolls

>>697806
The other guests, the regal beepony and the female griffon wreathed in flame lean forward in interest.
"Well, don't be so shy," the beepony says. "What would you like to drink? I'll have them bring it in a moment."
The Pattern Juggler nudges you. "Introduce yourself, old sport."
The griffon remains quiet, but gives you a rather cute smile.

>>697807
Through electroreception, you hear voices in your head as you and the sharks size one another up.

"How are you, love?" one of the older sharks, a male, asks. "What waters you from?"
"Feel free to come on in," an older, matronly voice adds. "We haven't had a guest in ages. Not too many sharks looking for carnival work."

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8 / Roll #2 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #3 8 + 2 = 10 / Roll #4 7 + 2 = 9 / Roll #5 9 + 2 = 11 / Roll #6 3 + 2 = 5

 No.697809

>>697808

It is at this moment that Cutlass very much hopes that whatever is going on here ISN'T contagious and has nothing to do with the bee fungus.

She pushes the creature off of her and tries to crawl away so she can get up.

[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.697810

>>697808
Alder gives the griffon a little smile in response, before looking to her and the Beepony and saying "Oh! Right. You may call me Alder. I'm from Tribe Frostclaw. It is nice to meet the both of you." he chirps, bowing his head a little "And, uh… I suppose a bit of ale might be nice, Princess."

 No.697811

>>697808
Cloud stumbles back, rubbing his eyes as his vision blacks. When it returns and he sees Chiu fall, he immediately rushes to her despite the parasites all over.
"No! Get off her!"
He shouts as he tries to pull the bugs off of her
Remove parasites [1d10]


Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.697812

>>697808
"Oh, gladly," she replies back to the old shark, looking for a way into the tank.
"And I from the waters near Equestria. I'm really far from my usual home."

Cerulean looks back to Perfect Pair a moment.
"So…when you change the formula, what exactly do you mean by that?"

 No.697813

>>697808
"Ah, shite." Seeing the fire start to spread and the fight generally start to fall apart, she makes note of the nearby water before lashing out with her dagger, hoping to cut away some of the parasites for later use. The fire elemental keeps attacking with fiery punches.

[1d10] Thess Attack

[1d10] Fire Elemental Attack

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 7 = 7

 No.697814

>>697809
Cutlass 5/3
You sustain severe bruises as Arroz pounds his hooves into your chest and head, but shove him off and scramble to your hooves, greatly disoriented after the onslaught. You see the skin of his back peel apart as countless parasites start to crawl out of him, swarming over to your allies, as the mind-controlled Aegos rampages. Cloud and Thessaly are both knocked to the ground, making ripe targets for the parasites. Yet your attention is drawn back to Arroz, who, gripping a parasite in a hoof, runs right for you.

>>697813
You slice through about half a dozen parasites that make their way over to you, and the elemental burns away those that attempt to flank you. Yet the fire still rages in the small shrine, and the mourners in the back of the crowd start to run every which way, attempting to find other ways of getting out. Some catch fire as they stray too close to the flames, and scream in agony.

>>697811
As you run to help Chiu, Aegos slams the back of his hoof into you, knocking you through the chairs with a painful crash, and you feel the bones of your jaw break like glass. You lose sight of Chiu in the pile of parasites, and her horrified shouts for help, once muffled, starts to fade.
Cloud 0/4

[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]
Mystery rolls

>>697812
On the far side of the tank, you see a portable staircase, evidently for divers or pool cleaners.
Both of the older sharks 'ooh' as you say where you're from. "What a long way away!" the male one says. "But it's good for a young soul to travel a bit. The journey makes sages out of fools. Good for you, lass."

"You can talk with 'em, right?" Perfect Pair asks. "Then this will be the first that we've ever had someone who can communicate directly with the sharks! We'll finally be able to use this tank for something other than those 'timed escape' routines. Hop on in, get acquainted!"
"I'll be glad to get back out on the road once he's properly retired," the female shark notes with a little annoyance. "Still, he's been a good vice-ringmaster."

>>697810
"Queen, you mean," the beepony notes curtly, then laughs. "The Princess is right there, though I understand why you'd mix up a couple of spry young girls. Oh, waiter, another round please, and an extra ale for our new guest!"

With another look at the beepony, you see that she is regal and proud, with her black mane, speckled with noble gray hairs, done in a braid, her head enthroned by a ring of black bee fluff, with golden bits of decorative pollen. She looks to be in her early 40s.
As the Pattern Juggler casually sorts through the gift basket, the griffon leans forward. "You should be calling me Princess. Don't forget it, okay? So, Mister Frostclaw, what even got you and the Pattern Juggler in a fight in the first place?"

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10 / Roll #2 2 + 2 = 4 / Roll #3 1 + 2 = 3 / Roll #4 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #5 6 + 2 = 8 / Roll #6 6 + 2 = 8

 No.697815

>>697814
Thessaly grits her teeth, crushing one of the parasites out of frustration and taking the rest for later analysis. She then dismisses the fire elemental before it can do any more damage to the environment and instead calls on the water in the room, trying to summon an elemental from it. "Ar ais. Uisce na croí. Uisce na croí…"

[1d10+2]

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7

 No.697816

>>697814
"Oh! Many apologies, to the both of you." he spits out in short order, before flicking his ears nervously. "I will certainly not forget, Princess. As for the fight with Pattern Juggler, he was… filling in for someone, if I remember correctly. We were sailing into the ribcage, and he attacked us there."

 No.697817

>>697814
Cerulean goes up the staircase and dips her tail in the water to test the temperature first.
"Other than timed escapes, huh? That could be fun."

She slides into the water, already feeling more at home without solid land on her hooves.
"Indeed. I've been learning so many new things since leaving. I've never knew the ocean was connected to so many far away places like here."
She tilts her head.
"Sounds like you guys have been with him for a long time."

 No.697818

>>697814
Cloud nearly crumples as he is flung through the chairs, holding his jaw as he shouts in muffled pain and groans.
[What's that guy's problem, I didn't do anything to him.]
He thinks as he glares at Aegos, but starting a grudge isn't worth it right now. Cloud struggles to stand back up, pushing his entire body as his bat ears can't pick up Chiu's screams anymore.
Recover [1d10]


Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.697819

>>697814

"You stay away from me!" Cutlass demands of the corpse.

In a panic, she starts launching a barrage of daggers at him.

>Dance of Blades [1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1]


Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #2 7 + 1 = 8 / Roll #3 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #4 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #5 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #6 1 + 1 = 2

 No.697820

>>697815
As you dismiss the elemental, the fire consuming the room continues to rage, but the spirit of water emerges from the guest table, forming a flying fish-like creature to serve as your servant. You see Aegos pick up Cutlass by the neck and start to choke her, and while the rest of the party is busy with fighting various parasites, you see Aegos pick up a lifeless Cutlass and start to choke her, while Make Believe lies unconscious beneath a burning chair.

>>697818
You get up, but as you do, you start to feel incredibly dizzy, your vision distorting as your hooves buckle beneath you. A distorted and faint voice ripples through your mind.Snap… hea– Clo… sound of… ce Roll instant to focus on it.

>>697819
You unleash the flurry of knives at Arroz, and while dozens sink themselves into him, the zombie starts to dart about with alarming speed, and you lose track of him as he leaps through the chaos of the fight, before he blindsides you, crashing his hoof into the side of your head. As you fall, you see an unconscious Ossie fall out of your shadow, and see the bone of her arms exposed, chewed through by the parasites. As Arroz walks over to you, he grabs a parasite, and starts to bring it closer to your face…
As this happens you start to feel strangely dizzy, and hear Make Believe's voice try to say something to you, but it's muffled and unclear. Roll instant to focus on it.

[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]
[1d10+4]
Mystery rolls

>>697816
The waiter, a jack-o-lantern head with a wispy, batlike smoke emanating from its holes, comes by, carrying trays of drinks on mystical balls of fire that float alongside it. The Princess passes around the drinks.
"Sounds like someone who works for my father, alright," the Princess says critically.
"I do feel rather unsavory about that, old sport," the Pattern Juggler apologizes. "I wouldn't have done it were it not for the boss's orders. Do forgive me, won't you?"
"A pirate, are you? We don't get outside traders," the Queen explains. "If you're coming on behalf of Perfect Pair, you must have been to my island. How do you like my kingdom? Well, I really should say my sisters' kingdom."

>>697817
It is pleasantly warm, especially with the big tent being rather chilly.
"Twenty years we've been performing with this troupe!" the female one says. "We've quite enjoyed the time, but even stars like us have to settle down eventually."
"Yes, yes. We've been itching to have something new to do," the male one says. "We used to perform a much wider repetoire of routines, but focus testing and audience surveys caused the troupe to stick to the underwater escape gimmick. Very boring if you ask me. We can do so much more than that!"

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #2 7 + 2 = 9 / Roll #3 8 + 2 = 10 / Roll #4 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #5 7 + 2 = 9 / Roll #6 8 + 4 = 12

 No.697821

>>697820
>>697815
As you dismiss the elemental, the fire consuming the room continues to rage, but the spirit of water emerges from the guest table, forming a flying fish-like creature to serve as your servant. The rest of the party is busy fighting the parasites. You see Aegos pick up Cutlass by the neck and start to choke her, while Make Believe lies unconscious beneath a burning chair.

 No.697822

>>697820

Tries to focus on the voice. [1d10]

Cutlass rolls away from the zombie to get up. [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 6 = 6

 No.697823

>>697822
Also forgot to post your H/W, which are 0/2

 No.697824

>>697820
Cloud resumes his walk to Chiu, swaying side ot side as his body wants to drop out from under him. His ears perk as the voice echoes in his mind.
[Chiu, is that you?]
Focus [1d10]
He thinks as he pushes forward so he can pull Chiu from the swarm of parasites.
Save Chiu [1d10]


Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 10 = 10

 No.697825

>>697820
"Well, what was some of the things you all used to do? Maybe we could do those again, but maybe add some…pizzazz, is that the word?"
Cerulean calmly drifts about the tank, quite enjoying the warm water and current company.

 No.697826

>>697820
Alder accepts his drink with a small nod and takes a sip, watching the jack-o-lantern with a curious look, before turning back to the Princess "Not a fan of some of the things he does, I take it? Not to pry, of course."
"Hmm? Oh, I suppose I can understand. Work is work, after all." he says, offering a bit of a shrug to the Juggler. He looks to the Queen next, before cocking his head to the side in confusion "I… hmm. Multiple Queens ruling the same land? I am afraid I do not understand."

 No.697827

>>697820
>>697821
She tries to keep calm as the tide turns against her and her allies. She commands the water elemental to start crashing against the flames to extinguish them, starting with the burning chair that threatens to kill Make Believe. She herself turns her attention to the possessed Aegos, draining the strength from his body. "Tá ag teipeadh do neart."
[1d10+1] Exequy
spell, recharge 2 after effect ends; Thessaly places a curse upon an enemy, crippling them with dark magic. The target auto-critfails its next roll, and on a crit the target is rendered unable to attack on the next turn. If an enemy gets multiple rolls per turn, the first of those rolls is the one affected by Exequy.

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.697828

>>697827
[1d10] Water Elemental

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.697829

>>697822
You climb back up to your hooves, and as you do, the voice becomes clear. Finally, I got through to you! you hear Make Believe say. You cannot see him anywhere in the scene, but his hoof sticks out from beneath a pile of parasites. Whatever you're seeing, it's not real! I can undo it, but I need you to relax. Whatever you do, stop moving, don't resist, please!
Arroz stomps forward and tries to press the parasite into the flesh of your neck.

>>697824
You clear a path through the parasites, but even as you crush them and cut through them, they bite and tear at you, spreading small cuts along your body that suddenly start to fester with a vile black and yellow pus. Chiu's half-eaten form, grotesque with wounds and pus, lays at the bottom of the pile. She is clearly dead. Yet, just as the sting starts to set in, her form rises up, and grips you by the arms. As her mouth opens hungrily, you hear her voice coming from a source far above you. You can hear me? Stop moving, stop fighting me! You're under some kind of spell, completely on a rampage! Just hold still!

>>697827
Noticing you, the white-eyed Aegos barrels forward, coating his arm and shoulder in armor of blue aura, and crashes into you, with his forehoof pinning your neck against the ground. Black pus drips from his mouth, as he snarls and raises his hoof to slam you. But as he does, a faint and distant voice needles its way into your head. I realize you're probably seeing some rather dark stuff right about now, lassie, but you're under a spell that is causing some rather disturbing results here in the waking world. So, I need you to put absolute faith in me. Say the words, "Please help me, my Queen!"It's a far harsher and colder sensation than Make Believe's telepathy, one rather intrusive and imposing.

[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]

>>697826
"No need to put it so mildly," the Princess says with irony.
"Yes, ordinarily the kingdom would be ruled by only a single Queen," the Queen explains. "But circumstances resulted in the exile of the old regime in a terrible and mutinous uprising. As such, my sisters Qaromarrow and Toko and I were raised to rule as a triumvirate, to ensure that all parts of our island will have a royal represenatative, and thus not entertain their twisted notions of freedom."

Her mention of Toko and Qaromarrow cause you to realize that this must be Queen Hurscurs. You are also reminded of what you have heard the Queens have been doing to the island – mass exiles and the execution of refugees under the pretense of evacuations from the civil war which they started.

>>697825
You see that the two other sharks, younger folks, swim forward in interest as you bring up pizzaz.

"Juggling routines, like they have those poor whales do at some of those amusement parks!" the older male shark says. He flashes a grin and flexes his tail. "Only, with a sharky touch that no other fish species can provide."
The older female digs out a deflated beach ball and tosses it to you. "Fill this up for us, will you? We can get started with training right now."

Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9 / Roll #2 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #3 3 + 2 = 5 / Roll #4 3 + 2 = 5 / Roll #5 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #6 8 + 2 = 10

 No.697830

>>697829

That's… odd, she thinks to Make Believe. It feels so real. So, you're NOT being buried by parasites right now? Hmm…

Cutlass becomes even more curious. She doesn't resist. But, she takes the occasion to Soul Sight into the thing that is attacking her.

>[1d10] for Soul Sight


Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.697831

>>697829
Cerulean comes up to the surface, taking breaths of air so inflate the ball. Once inflated, she let it float on the surface.
"Hmm…well, I think we can make it more than before, I just don't know how just yet…but let's see you guys in action first. Maybe something can come to us or something."

 No.697832

>>697829
Cloud's heart breaks as he sees Chiu's remains, body falling into a limp stance as the sight hits him. His hooves clench looking around the room in a rage.
[Where is he. If that guy didn't smack me I would've saved you!]
He thinks as he looks for Aegos, eyes glowing as his magic surges to grow himself.
Wax/Wane [Self] [1d10]
His eyes widen as her corpse rises and grasps him, a mixture of panic, relief, fear, and worry setting in.
[Stop?! Look at you! Look what happened because of him!]
His thoughts echo to the voice.


Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.697833

>>697829
She does a double take at the sudden voice in her ear, frowning. She doesn't trust strangers, especially not ones that worm into her head. 'Lassie'? she thinks back. You would do wise to respect your elders. Reeling from the blow, she tries to get up, heeding the voice. While she doesn't know whether to trust it, she is rapidly running out of options. "Please help me, my Queen!"

[1d10] Recover

Meanwhile, the water elemental continues to churn and roil against the flames, desperately trying to extinguish them with its own body.

[1d10] Extinguish

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 2 = 2

 No.697834

>>697829
"Alder winces a little, and nods in agreement with the princess "I just wanted to be polite, I suppose. I am not used to speaking with royalty."

Alder hums a little bit, not particularly fond of her actions, but… "I… see. What a bizarre method of leadership. So, what became of the uprising? I assume it was put down, yes?"

 No.697835

>>697830
Your soul sight ability reveals a faint outline of Make Believe, surrounded by black aura in the shape of Arroz. Quickly peering into Make Believe's heart, you see that he is driven by a desire to see the world, confirming that what you have been seeing is indeed an illusion. As Arroz forces the parasite up against your neck, you involuntarily panic, but the sensation of biting quickly fades.

>>697833
Elders? the voice asks. M-my apologies. But we can discuss this further once I've got you out of there! A cool, invigorating sensation fills you, as if you were emerging from the ocean's waters after a swim. The scene around you starts to fade.

>>697833
>>697830
As the illusion fades, you see Make Believe standing before Cutlass, pressing a sticker of a pirate captain up against her chest. Strong aura radiates from the sticker. You see that what you've been experiencing thus far has been more or less illusory. Chiu and Ossie stand before you behind Make Believe, all looking badly injured. Cloud is pinned to the floor, his eyes white, thrashing like a wild creature, while Chiu whispers into his ear and shakes his shoulders.

Arroz lays behind him, body destroyed, while a half-conscious Aegos has been knocked against the far corner of the shrine, tended to by the other members of the Honeydews. Above Arroz's corpse, a black shadow stands, but it's no longer belligerent or taking any action against you.

>>697832
Your spell fails. Idiot! I just said you're under a spell, you've been under it since he attacked us all with his aura! Listen, Make Believe can fix this, but I need you to lay down and be still!

>>697831
The four sharks circle around the ball as if circling around a wounded fish in the water. Without warning, the four all dive for it, butting heads and trying to undercut one another in the struggle for it. Eventually, one of the younger sharks emerges victorious, bouncing the ball atop his nose. He whirls underwater, smashing the ball into the air above the tank.
"Follow up on that!" one of the sharks challenges you.

>>697834
"No. Aided by the treacherous Three Families, they nearly exterminated the royal line, and drove them off the island for over fifty years," Queen Hurscurs says sadly. "And look what's happened in our time away. It's a bay of pirates now, ruled by the drug and slave trade. Raiders will pillage one end of the island and sell the loot to a town on the other end! Any who have sympathies to the rebels nowadays are revellling in an anarchist paradise. All the while spitting on the past that generations of past royalty built!"

 No.697836

>>697835
Caught by surprise a bit from the sudden challenge, Cerulean moves to bounce the ball off her head, then have the ball balance on her tail before tail smacking it back up into the air.

 No.697837

>>697835
[This can't be a spell, I felt that hoof and everything!]
Cloud protests in his thoughts.
[But, I'll stop for a moment, for you.]
He says, taking a breath and doing his best to stand still. A veyr difficult task when looking at her corpse.

 No.697838

>>697835
She smiles satisfiedly upon seeing the illusion fade. "Well that's comforting," she says to no one in particular. "At least we shan't all die just yet." Seeing Cloud still under the effects of the spell, she turns to Cutlass. "Captain, you should see to your companion. I have some strong words for that shadow over there."

She then starts collecting small rocks from around the battlefield, eventually placing them in a circle. She then takes a small sample of blood from Arroz's body with her knife and drips it into the center of the circle, passing her hooves over it in a ritualistic fashion. "Dúisigh. Teacht ar ais ó Tech Duinn. …Do you hear me, Arroz?"

[1d10+2] Commune

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10

 No.697839

>>697835

Cutlass looks around at the room now that she is free of the illusion. She looks to Make Believe and gives him a nod and a smile. "Thank you," she says sternly.

Then, she looks up at the black shadow still hanging over Arroz's body. "What ARE you," she mutters as she looks at it with Soul Sight. [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.697840

>>697835
Alder sweats internally, and makes note to not say much of anything about it. Taking a sip of the ale, he asks "So… do you have any plans to deal with the pirates, or the revolutionaries? I imagine they and these rebels must be quite the problem."

 No.697841

>>697838

"He's not MY companion," she says petulantly.

 No.697842

>>697838
>>697839
Make Believe quickly peels the sticker off of Cutlass. Sorry, you can't keep it. Otherwise it'll… oh, sorry, that's a secret. Just ask me if you want another sticker!

As you both approach the shadow, it groans in frustration. You see that it is the spitting image of Arroz, in the way he looked before he died - cocksure, with a stylish pompadour, and a red jacket to compliment his beepony colors. He's studying his own corpse.
>Only Thessaly can understand him when he speaks but can say she's translating
"Now this is a shitty day all around," he says. "Not only do I die, I try to possess my own body at a funeral, not even realizing that it was *me* in the casket. And while trying to get you guys to listen to me, I couldn't even understand that I was speaking literal gibberish to you. Then, I try to use my Aura to make you see the light, and even my ability is corrupted…"
He snorts and drags his hoof. "Ain't that some shit!? You ladies know what it's like to have a day that bad!?"

>>697837
Whhhhhyyy do you have to be so damn stubborn? Chiu asks in exasperation. As you sit still, one of the parasites leaps at you. But the momentary pain of it biting you and burrowing into your chest gives way to a dizzying sense of rising. The scene around you fades.
You gradually come to, pinned to the ground by a shadow. You see that Make Believe has put a sticker on your chest, resembling a pirate captain. When he sees you come to, Make Believe removes the sticker. You can't keep my sticker, but it did just save you from going crazy!
Chiu quickly hugs you, releasing you from the shadow's grip.

>>697836
One of the other young sharks hops from the water and spikes the ball down toward the other shark, who catches it on his frill and juggles it back into the air again. When it lands, he launches it back toward you.
"This is a basic routine that we use to warm up," the older female shark says. "Any ideas for sprinkling in a little of that pizzaz you were talking about?"

>>697840
"Queen Toko is currently in negotiation with the Three Families," Queen Hurscurs says, clearly holding back further information. "And we will be making public appearances all throughout Aristar as a means of reconnecting with our people and proving our legitimacy."
"Oh, Alder, if you're going to be performing with the Pattern Juggler, then you'll also be able to bring all your friends to these appearances with the VIP pass. Have you gotten one yet?" the Pattern Juggler asks.

You are reminded of the murderous Aura-based hunting game that you heard about from Cutlass and her allies.

 No.697843

>>697842
Alder frowns a little to himself. He wants to know more, but pressing his luck may not be best here. He looks back to Pattern Juggler, and vigorously shakes his head "No! That might be good, though. I would hate to leave my friends behind."

 No.697844

>>697842
Cerulean breeches the surface and bounces the ball up on her stomach, then balances it on the top of her head.
"Hmm…we could juggle something other than a ball. Oh! There's these things called confetti bombs! We could totally juggle on around, launch it into the crowd, and give them a good scare the first time."
She giggles a bit at the idea.

 No.697845

>>697842

After Thessaly translates, Cutlass snorts. "I've had some pretty shit- er bad days," she responds. "Like, REALLY bad. But, I think you've got me beat. Just by a little bit. I'll let you have it just because you're dead."

"I don't suppose you could help make this day better by telling us how you died?"

 No.697846

>>697841
"Our companion, then," she answers distractedly as she gathers the components for the communion. "If it pleases you."

>>697842
>>697837
"Oh never mind then, he's awake now. Welcome back to the world of the living."

>>697842
She looks back at the group behind her.

>>697835
>>697839
>>697837
"He is not happy about his predicament, it seems. He says his death was earlier today, and that he was trying to communicate with us, but something had corrupted him. If you have any questions for him, now is the time. I will translate."

>>697835
She then turns back to Arroz, staring at him dispassionately. She clearly does not care much for niceties after everything that has just happened. "We have questions for you, Arroz. Answer, and I will allow you to pass on."

"Firstly, the murder itself. Do you know who it was that killed you? If indeed it was a murder. We are trying to get to the bottom of it. Your death has caused much unrest within the Families, and it is in our interests to get to the bottom of it before anyone does something foolish."

"Also, what twisted your spirit? Have you any idea what could have done this? In all my years I have never seen the like. This might be essential to the investigation."

 No.697847

>>697842
Cloud huffs, waiting and resisting the urge to fight at the parasite as it leaps.

Cloud blinks as the scene around him changes, looking around in a state far beyond confusion.
Wha?
He thinks as Make Believe takes the sticker, unsure of what's going on.

He looks up to Chiu when she hugs him, frozen for a moment before he wraps his hooves around her, giving her a tight squeeze.
"Oh thank the Princesses you're ok!"
He says, overly joyful and relieved, while not letting go.

 No.697848

>>697846
hp fix

 No.697849

>>697847
It's Aura, roll with it, Make Believe says.
Chiu falls on you, returning the squeeze. "Sounds like you had to see some really horrible things in your illusion. You, Thessaly and Cutlass were on a rampage, attacking Arroz, Aegos and all of us. And you really did a number on all of us. Make Believe got the worst of it, not wanting me and Ossie to get beat up."

>>697846
>>697845
Arroz takes a long time to think on your questions. "Hmm… that must've been what happened."
He looks up and claps his hooves once. "I think it happened like this. I have no idea who murdered me, or why. I've got a list of names who'd might want to, though. All I remember of the night of the murder is my death, and even that, I don't remember clearly… so there's obviously details I'm missing.
"There's a tradition around these islands that a person who dies a sudden, violent death, without having any time to make peace with the idea of dying, won't realize they're dead. Anger and resentment build in them, until their perception of reality wraps, and they become an evil spirit, exacting mindless revenge on everyone without understanding what it is they're even doing. That must've been what I was going through today.
"Here's what I remember me doing in the past day. I had known that there was a murder, that someone in the Honeydew family had been killed. But I never got their name, and didn't realize that it was *me* who had died. Earlier, when all those gangsters were fighting, I was there. I was trying to rile up my boys, thinking that the Skeps had something to do with it. Then when I came back here, I tried to get Aegos to join in on the fun!"
He looks at his own picture beside the coffin. "I didn't even recognize my own picture. And when I got near the coffin, I peered inside for a closer look… then when I saw that it really was me in there, everything sort of goes black after that."

>>697843
The Pattern Juggler shows you a playing card, then with an elaborate flick of his wrist, flips the card over. As it flips, it transforms into a long, black metal pass with golen trim, simply saying "VIP" in gold. On the reverse, you see a rubber imprint with VIP written out.
"This pass is yours, and you can use the stamp on the back with a little ink to make sure everyone who wants to come with you will be let in."
Another round of drinks, including your ale, is delivered to the table. "Well, I'd hate to keep you, unless you'd really like to stay for more drinks, eh?" the Juggler asks.

>>697844
"I was thinking we could play with one of the audience members instead of the ball," one of the younger sharks says.
"Both excellent ideas," the older male shark says. "We have plenty of those in stock."
"Ooh, why not have a race out in the ocean? Would you be up for that too?"

 No.697850

>>697849
Alright. Cloud says, starting to ease back into his more casual state. Why a sticker though?

"It was awful. Parasites swarmed all over you, and one of thse guy smacked me when I was trying to get to you," Cloud pauses, feeling his jaw, "Hey, I really was an illusion. Anyways, when I got to you… It was awful. So yea you can see why I was stubborn now."
Cloud says with a smirk.
"Now don't tell me I roughed you up that much with all that training you have."

>>697846
"Oh, we figured out the murder? This turned out a lot better than I thought it would."
Cloud asks up from hte floor, now that the shock has faded.

 No.697851

>>697849
Her eyes widen and she takes a step backward in shock after overhearing what Chiu said, but quickly compose myself. "Well. That is unfortunate. I hope none of you were too badly injured while we were affected…"

Shaking slightly, she turns back to Arroz, considering what he has to say. "Name them. We will find the culprit in due time."

As Arroz recounts his point of view, she mulls it over. "So there are dark forces at play, ones that cannot be found elsewhere in the Ribcage. Interesting," she muses. "So you were not aware of what was really happening, then. Just as we were. As if something else is pulling the strings here. …So you do not remember anything at all about the murder itself?" She looks a little annoyed at seemingly having gotten so little from Arroz.

>>697850
"It is not as simple as that, I am afraid. He does not remember who did it, only has his suspicions. Moreover, he was not aware of what was happening during the brawl that broke out earlier, nor did he know he had been murdered until he saw his own body. This bodes ill."

 No.697852

>>697851
composes herself*

 No.697853

>>697849

"The Skeps seem pretty insistent they weren't involved. Even to a third party like us…" Cutlass thinks aloud. "What names do you have?"

 No.697854

>>697849
"Oh man, all those ideas are so great, I'm not sure if I can pick just one. Though I bet the audience loves to be part of the show, at least, that's what all the performers keep saying."
She gives the ball a good tap up and into the air to keep the juggling going.
"A race sounds great as well. Hopefully nobody tries to make a betting ring over who would win."

 No.697855

>>697851
"So we're back where we started, only we got attacked by the victim. Great."

 No.697856

>>697849
"Oh… wow! W-Well, thank you kindly. I would stay for longer, but I sort of forgot to tell my friends I was volunteering. B-Besides, I imagine I must be ready very soon." the griffon says, offering a bow to all of them "It was nice to meet the both of you. Thank you for your hospitality." he chirps, before turning to leave.

 No.697857

>>697855
"So it would seem. Believe me, I'm no happier about this than you are."

 No.697858

>>697850
It's just what I chose to base my ability around. They're convenient to carry, and nobody ever expects a sticker to be a real problem, so they've never been confiscated.
"I knew you'd feel guilty if I let you punch me without retaliation, so I was a bit rough on you in return," Chiu says. "That smack you felt was actually probably one of my kicks. Did it hurt that bad?"

>>697851
I'll be frank, Make Believe says. It really wasn't all that fun fighting you. It was really starting to hurt after a while, and you're real scary when possessed. You did a lot of damage to both me and Arroz, until that bee queen lady stepped in and fixed you.

>>697854
>>697851
"Hang on: There may be clues in the fact that I know so little about the murder in the first place. I was kicked from behind into the mud along the walkways, by the sewer entrance. My assailant then choked me from behind, probably with a garrotte. That doesn't fit the profile of any thug I know. We'd never live it down if we killed someone from behind. All the Families are full of stubborn and prideful shitheads like me. We fight from the front, and weapons are discouraged. Besides, he was real good, and even if I were attacked from behind, I should've been able to throw off a common Family thug.

"To me, all this means my killer was a professional. Someone from the outside who was hired for this.
"But who would hire a killer? Would've had to be real chickenshit to do it… Fasol, Sares, Ouski, they're all guys I've butted heads with in the Honeydew clan. Lazul and Keraia, I know they didn't think too highly of me either, and they're Skeps. But to be honest, I've never had any interaction with anyone from the Dextrose family. They're all too busy paying off bureaucrats to take notice of a lowlife revoluionary like me."

>>697856
The Pattern Juggler and Queen Hurscurs raise their glasses to you, while the Princess enthusiastically waves. "I'll look out for you at tomorrow's performance!"

As you fly out from the lounge, a noticable lightness overcomes you. You realize that being in the presence of so many powerful auras placed a tremendous physical weight on your own. A stirring still lasts inside you. As you look around, you see Squatz, Paraiba and Zerk perching on the rim of the deck, sitting in contemplation.

>>697854
"Oh but the gambling is half the fun!" the older female shark says. "And we get a cut of the pool no matter who wins."
"Besides, you haven't seen a race like what we do just yet. We won't be holding it in this tank, but out on the sea. A real genuine race!"

>Paused

 No.698271

Post sheets

 No.698272


 No.698273


 No.698274


 No.698275


 No.698276

Cutlass 5/2
Thessaly 5/4
Cloud 5/4
All else at full H/W

Last time on PQ…

During their fight with Arroz, Thessaly, Cloud and Cutlass had fallen under the influence of Arroz's corrupted aura power, which had caused them to see illusions, all while unconsciously rampaging against Arroz, Aegos and the rest of the party. They managed to defeat Arroz and Aegos, but not without injuring their allies in the process. After their fight, Arroz's soul had come to its senses, and he was able to offer more clues to the murder.

Alder obtained a VIP pass for the party, allowing them the best seats in the house when it came to the performance at the circus tomorrow. There, Queen Hurscurs would be in attendance, as well as the Princess of Embers.

Cerulean continued training with the Pattern Juggler's circus troupe, making friends with a group of four unnamed sharks who were quite ready to retire, but not after one more rousing tour.

>>698273
It's just what I chose to base my ability around. They're convenient to carry, and nobody ever expects a sticker to be a real problem, so they've never been confiscated.
"I knew you'd feel guilty if I let you punch me without retaliation, so I was a bit rough on you in return," Chiu says. "That smack you felt was actually probably one of my kicks. Did it hurt that bad?"

>Thessaly

I'll be frank, Make Believe says. It really wasn't all that fun fighting you. It was really starting to hurt after a while, and you're real scary when possessed. You did a lot of damage to both me and Arroz, until that bee queen lady stepped in and fixed you.

>>698275
>Thessaly
"Hang on: There may be clues in the fact that I know so little about the murder in the first place. I was kicked from behind into the mud along the walkways, by the sewer entrance. My assailant then choked me from behind, probably with a garrotte. That doesn't fit the profile of any thug I know. We'd never live it down if we killed someone from behind. All the Families are full of stubborn and prideful shitheads like me. We fight from the front, and weapons are discouraged. Besides, he was real good, and even if I were attacked from behind, I should've been able to throw off a common Family thug.

"To me, all this means my killer was a professional. Someone from the outside who was hired for this.
"But who would hire a killer? Would've had to be real chickenshit to do it… Fasol, Sares, Ouski, they're all guys I've butted heads with in the Honeydew clan. Lazul and Keraia, I know they didn't think too highly of me either, and they're Skeps. But to be honest, I've never had any interaction with anyone from the Dextrose family. They're all too busy paying off bureaucrats to take notice of a lowlife revoluionary like me."

>>698274
The Pattern Juggler and Queen Hurscurs raise their glasses to you, while the Princess enthusiastically waves. "I'll look out for you at tomorrow's performance!"

As you fly out from the lounge, a noticable lightness overcomes you. You realize that being in the presence of so many powerful auras placed a tremendous physical weight on your own. A stirring still lasts inside you. As you look around, you see Squatz, Paraiba and Zerk perching on the rim of the deck, sitting in contemplation.

>>698272
"Oh but the gambling is half the fun!" the older female shark says. "And we get a cut of the pool no matter who wins."
"Besides, you haven't seen a race like what we do just yet. We won't be holding it in this tank, but out on the sea. A real genuine race!"

 No.698277

>>698276
"That…actually doesn't sound half bad. Hunh, maybe we could do some big race thing, too. Aww man, there are too many good ideas to pick just one!"
Cerulean does a small twirl then just dead floats in the water to emphasize her indecisiveness.

 No.698278

>>698276
"Hurt? You shattered my jaw and threw me across the room."
Cloud says with a chuckle.
"I'm feeling better now, just remind me to keep my distance if you get controlled next time."

 No.698279

>>698271
https://pastebin.com/FG7PKshS

>>698276
She pales slightly when the full reality of what just transpired sets in. What… What did I do? she asks Make Believe. Are you alright? …Wait. One of the Bee Queens is here? She looks around in confusion.
[1d10] Perception if needed

She turns her attention back to Arroz. "We will try to contact these Family members, then. I have an inkling of what faction the culprit belonged to, but I do not want to make accusations just yet." She thinks. "Any idea where we could find the three Honeydews you mentioned? Fasol, Sares, and Ouski. We wwill need as much information as we can get concerning them, as well as the two Skeps."

"You are so certain it was a hitman? It seems if they wanted to get rid of you so badly, they would have put their pride aside to do the deed."

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.698280

>>698276
Alder shakes his head a little bit, not expecting the sudden light-headedness. After taking a few moments to recover, he makes his way over to Squatz and the other two to sit by them. "So, that is taken care of. I trust you all are well?"

 No.698281

>>698276

Cutlass thinks for a moment. "If no one you know would be cowardly enough to hire an assassin, then it must be someone you don't know."

"You described yourself as a revolutionary. Why?"

 No.698282

>>698277
"It is going to be a fairly long show, so we'll likely have enough time for most, if not all of it. It is a big event, with even the new Bee Queens in attendance," the older male one says. "And with the war getting closer and closer, we're planning an extra-special show in order to assuage the people's fears, take their mind off of some of those horrible rumors and accusations that have been floating around."

"You're welcome to come with us if you don't have anywhere else to go after the evacuation, sweetie," the older female shark says. "Perhaps it's a bit forward to offer so quickly, but it's going to be a dangerous time soon."

>>698280
"We've been on our best behavior, alright," Squatz says. He pulls back the pocket of his coat a bit to reveal a pile of gems. Zerk and Paraiba do the same, revealing their own treasures.
"How did it go? Any good information?" Paraiba asks. "Even without Aura, I got goosebumps just from being too close to the lounge. Those are some dangerous cats in there."

>>698278
Chiu feels your jaw and winces with guilt. "Hmm… It doesn't feel cracked, but it's badly swollen. You may have experienced exaggerated pain levels due to the illusion as well."
"We'll get Sparkler to look at everyone once we're all grouped up again," Ossie says.

>>698279
I do have to say, it was admirable. Most ponies only 'play' at violence. They only do what they have to in order to keep themselves alive. Most ponies will let others surrender or flee, if doing so gives themselves a better chance of not dying. But you were throwing punches, biting, kicking, throwing things without much care for who or what got hurt, even yourself. Granted, you were possessed, so don't feel guilty about it; I'm just glad you're okay.

Make Believe gestures over at Legra, off to the side of the shrine's fire basin. You see her speaking furtively with a beepony in a plain black gown and hat, with a brilliantly lustrous coat, and a small regal tiara on her head. The tiara-wearing pony looks unharmed, but Legra is lightly bruised.

>>698279
>>698281
You recall that earlier, Legra mentioned Lazul being the prime suspect of her and Aegos' investigation thus far, and Arroz just mentioned Lazul by name moments ago.

>>698281
"I've been trying to stop the drug trade that makes the Honeydews so rich," Arroz explains. "It's a long story, but basically, widespread and repeated use has driven up demand for more production, and the creation of stronger blends. This has led to more overdosing deaths, particularly among first-time users who don't know what they're getting into and end up with the strongest stuff on first usage. You'd that the problem would have been obvious for the Honeydews, but they wouldn't listen to me even when I protested to them. So apparently, trying to look out for people is a goddamn revolutionary act around here."

>>698279
"They run the apothecaries and cornerclubs around our slice of the city. I'll give you the address for the Bees' Needs. They're most often around there."

"I'm pretty sure it was…" he confirms, but sounds unsure. "Still, a couple things still bother me. First, although they took great care - catching me alone, in the dead of night, being cautious about the assassination - they also left quite a bit of evidence. They kicked me into the mud around the sewer grate. That left copious evidence, including hoofprints. On top of that, they left my body out in the water. No attempt at a coverup. Doesn't that seem weird to you?"

 No.698283

>>698282
Cloud feels his face as Chiu says it's swollen.
"Should probably grab some ice for this," He mutters, "But no worries, I don't plan on letting something like this happen again."

"We got a doctor on ship? Why didn't we take them with us?"
Cloud questions Ossie.

 No.698284

>>698282
Cloud feels his face as Chiu says it's swollen.
"Should probably grab some ice for this," He mutters, "But no worries, I don't plan on letting something like this happen again."

"We got a doctor on ship? Why didn't we take them with us?"
Cloud questions Ossie.

 No.698285

>>698282

"Sounds to me like the chief suspect should be a Honeydew, then," Cutlass comments.

>>698284

"First of all, Godot does what he wants, and he does not like getting caught up in things like this needlessly. Second, why on Earth would I endanger the doctor of the crew?"

 No.698286

>>698282
"Well, I got us a VIP card, and I can use it to get all of us through the door. I also found out that the three queens are apparently talking with the Three Families. I was not able to get much more, but apparently they will be making more public appearances."

 No.698287

>>698282
"Aww, well that's actually pretty nice. As for escaping, well, I don't think I can. Its very complicated and all, and I don't really know how to explain it myself."

 No.698288

>>698282
She is inwardly relieved that she did not use her spells on anyone. The important part is that we are safe, I suppose. It could have been much, much worse.

Following Make Believe's gesture, she arches an eyebrow at the queen bee present. Hmm. Arroz was not a particularly prominent member of the Family, as I understand it. Odd that one of the queens themselves would come to his funeral.

She nods pensively at Arroz. "That would be most appreciated. Thank you."

"It does seem odd that they would do such a lackluster job. Either they were no professional at all, or they were trying to send a message. Or, getting caught is part of their plan. Curiouser and curiouser."

>>698283
>>698285
"Cloud, Captain, it seems we have a proper lead. What should our next course of action be?"

 No.698289

>>698288

"What is YOUR lead?"

 No.698290

>>698283
"Drama with the Captain," Ossie whispers. "I don't think either of them like each other much. We've also got Godot, but he's a VIP, guarding the ship right now. Can't risk exposing him to danger."

>>698286
"Sounds like a lot of politics," Zerk says. "And politics is good for thieves like us."
"More high-profile targets, more riches, more danger," Squatz adds.
"Can't wait to get started," Paraiba says. "Alright, well, we're ready when you are. Unless you want to try and slip away with a little gold yourself."

>>698287
"By your scent, you're a traveler, and one with a very large crew," the older male shark says. "I think she'll be fine, dear."
"You do seem pretty tough. I just want you to take care of yourself. Not too often we see fellow sharks, or even friendly fish for that matter."
The younger sharks gather near the top of the tank as Piovy tosses fresh fish into the water.

>>698285
>>698288
Arroz gives you the address for the Bees' Needs cornerclub, as well as directions and a number of shortcuts through the winding streets of Aristar; you won't need to roll when going here.

"My thoughts exactly," Arroz says to both Cutlass' and Thessaly's hypotheses. "Still, to think that someone within the Honeydews would take me out like such a coward… I don't fully believe it, but I can't dismiss the possibility."

 No.698291

>>698290
"I do not know about snooping around here for too long. Being in that room made my head ache…" the griffon says, letting out a soft huff. "We may want to be careful. There might be a bit more than politics going on."

 No.698292

>>698289
She lowers her voice slightly to avoid offending any nearby Honeydews. "It seems increasingly likely one of the Honeydews was the culprit, either having done it themselves or via an assassin. He seems to have made enemies of his own kin, by the sounds of things. It would behove us to investigate them first."

>>698290
She makes note of the instructions. "Hm… It should be easy enough to find. Thank you, again. We will get to the bottom of this."

She then turns to the crowd of Honeydews and raises her voice. "Ahem. Attention, Honeydews. The spirit of Arroz has been pacified. He is among you now. If anyone here would like to speak to him one last time, now is the chance to."

 No.698293

>>698292
>>698290

"Then, we are in agreement, let's go."

 No.698294

>>698291
In saying this, Alder pulls out the book, and places the bookmark back at the tent grounds. Hopefully this will work…

 No.698295

>>698293
"Just a moment. We should not deny these mourners the chance to speak to Arroz, should we?"

 No.698296

>>698290
"Well its a pretty big ocean out there, though the waters around here have been especially rough when it comes to friendliness. If you find yourself in the waters of Equestria, everyone is a lot friendlier. Still cautious of me and all, of course, but not gonna try and make a meal of me."
At the sight of the fish, Cerulean gives a nod to the sharks.
"Well, I think we have a routine set, so I should go back and check in with my friends. They might be worried about me."
She breeches the surface and jumps out, giving a wave to all the sharks.
"It was great meeting you all!"

 No.698297

>>698288
"If we got a lead let's get on it."

>>698290
"Yea she has an abrasive personality, doesn't she?" Cloud whispers back. "Would be nice to have a doctor around, but I guess I can wait."

 No.698298

>>698295

"Make it quick," Cutlass says, giving a concerned glance to the royal bee in the room.

 No.698299

>>698293
>>698292
"Wait… one last time!?" Arroz suddenly exclaims. "Hold up, I'm not moving on just yet! I still had a looooot of vices to repent for! Shit!"

Most of the mourners, those who still stuck around after the fight, seem confused, and murmur questions about everything that just happened. "He's still with us? How do you mean… and how do you even know?" one asks.

>>698297
>>698295
>>698298
One of the beeponies comes forward. It's the tiara-wearing beepony whom Make Believe pointed out to Thessaly earlier, as one of the Queens.

"On behalf of the Three-Pronged Crown, I, Queen Toko, thank you, both for joining us in this day of mourning, and for stopping this disturbance," she says. "As you can imagine, it's quite distressing to have one of the dead come back to life in such a grotesque manner, after being cut down so cruelly. Please, wait a moment so I can compensate you, and our doctors address your injuries."

The other party members, save for Make Believe, tense as Queen Toko introduces herself.

>>698297
"That's no invitation to badmouth the Captain," Ossie whispers back. "Sorry, but I promise we'll get your wounds sorted out as quick as we can."

>>698296
The sharks wave back, but are quickly caught up in their eating.

>>698291
>>698296
As Cerulean hops out of the water, Alder focuses his Aura into the bookmark. In a puff of smoke, he vanishes from the massive ship, and appears before Cerulean in another puff of smoke, alongside Paraiba, Zerk and Squatz. Alder finds himself in a massive storeroom, where much larger props and gizmos for the circus are kept, most notably a large shark tank.

"Ah!" Perfect Pair exclaims as Alder returns. "How was the boss? He like the gift basket?"

 No.698300

>>698299

Cutlass raises a suspicious eyebrow at the Queen. Surely, at the very least, her hat should be a dead giveaway that she's not from this island and therefore it's odd that she's therefore part of the hunt. Or, is it that she doesn't even care about the real body and considers it no threat?

Still, Cutlass takes this rare opportunity to see into the soul of one of these queens.

[1d10] for Soul Sight on Queen Toko

"Thank you for the generous offer, but I'm afraid I must decline," Cutlass responds cordially. "I have my own doctor, you see. He'd be simply beside himself if he found out I saw another. You know how eccentric doctors can get."

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.698301

>>698299
Cerulean has a surprised look, but then smiles wide.
"Hey, nice! I was just saying I was wondering what you all were up to, and here you are suddenly! Talk about convenience."

 No.698302

>>698298
"I will try," she simply answers.

>>698299
"Unless someone else brings your spirit forth in the future, then yes, this is the last time. You would do best to choose your words carefully."

She frowns. "Can you not see him with us now? …Perhaps not. I will be happy to translate for him, if you wish."

She bows formally to the queen. "We would appreciate your aid greatly, Your Grace. I am Thessaly, and my companions here are Cloud Shear and my captain, Cutlass. It is an honor."

 No.698303

>>698302

"Too late, anyway," Cutlass mumbles.

 No.698304

>>698299
"A-Ah!" he chirps, a little shocked as he appears in front of Cerulean and Perfect Pair. "I-It went well. One of the Queens and the Princess were there as well. But, he was happy to receive the gift basket. He even gave me a VIP card, which is nice!"

>>698301
Alder gives the sharkpony an excited hug, and nods a little bit "Sorry to have up and left on you in such a manner."

 No.698305

>>698299
"Queen? As in, the actual Queen of this island?"
Cloud questions, unsure if he heard the bee correctly after such an attack.

>>698299
"You haven't known her as long as I have. But thanks."

 No.698306

>>698304
"Honestly, I didn't even know you were gone…or well, gone from here…this general area? Uhmm…where did you go anyway? Oh, but I was back here training, then found out I get a free hotel room for helping out, then I met those really nice sharks and we were juggling a ball. It was just a great time in general I sorta forgot for awhile."

 No.698307

>>698300
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjEeB-ixHUw
An unsettling chill envelops you as you stare into Queen Toko's soul. You behold a view of the entire island, covered by many hives. Cities are not simply purged, but annihilated, stripped and removed, leaving not even the foundational stones. Toko sits alone on a single throne, and there are no signs of her sisters anywhere. The vision pulls out, and you see ships, full of the white fungal parasites, departing for other islands.

Queen Toko looks a bit disappointed, and a bit offended by the decline. "Well, at least allow me to give you some money, won't you? Here."

She claps her hooves, and a pair of beepony butlers zoom up, handing her a purse. She withdraws a checkbook, scribbles on a check, then tears it off and hands it to you. You see it is worth 5000 Bits.

>>698305
"One of the Three Bee Queens, the others being my sisters," Queen Toko says.

>>698302
>>698305
Queen Toko gestures one of her butlers forward, and he manifests a warm orange Aura as he approaches. "With your permission, I will address your wounds," the butler says.

>>698302
"Goddamnit, I wanted to stick around until we got my murderer so I could wallop him!" Arroz says. "Is there really no exception you can make for me? Or at least a way to call me back when you get him?"

A few mourners come up as you offer, and whisper their goodbyes and last words to you to translate. Their words are many and heartfelt, thanking him for good turns done in the past or requests to watch over them in the future, but from males his age, you hear quite a bit of good-natured sass, taunts and foul-mouthed extortions to wait for them in the afterlife so they can share a drink.

>>698304
>>698306
"Well, it's good to have you all back," Perfect Pair says. "Thanks for delivering that, Alder. I was a wreck earlier. This performance has so much riding on it – we're performing for the Queens on the eve of war, for goodness' sake. Anyway, you're more than welcome to stick around here, or go to your hotel, or bring your friends in to see the circus. Just hollar if there's anything I can do for you!"

 No.698308

>>698307
exhortations* not extortions

 No.698309

>>698306
"I went to go deliver a basket to Pattern Juggler. He apologized for the mishap on the water earlier, and even gave me a nice little VIP card. I can get us all backstage, should we need it." he says, before looking back to Alder

>>698307
"Of course. I will likely hang around here a little bit longer, and then go try and round what friends I can find up and see if they would like to come." he says, before taking a short bit of time to go return the chest he'd taken earlier, sand as few of the gems inside. He does not want to be mean."

 No.698310

>>698309
(ignore that last ")

 No.698311

>>698307

Cutlass stares at Toko for a while as she sees the horrifying image and takes it all in. She does her best to keep her expressions to herself. After a moment's pause, she continues the conversation.

"Oh yes, my apologies for being unclear, Your Majesty," Cutlass says, still using her training as a noblepony to be courteous to her. "I was only declining your offer of being healed. I wouldn't be so outrageously discourteous as to outright deny a royal thanks. I assure you, my decline was simply on the basis of practicality. I would not dream of offending if I could help it."

Cutlass takes the check telekinetically and floats it over to Ossie. "Take this, won't you?" she says to Ossie as if she is kindly addressing a servant. She makes absolutely certain to not touch the check in any way.

"My deepest, sincerest gratitude, your majesty," Cutlass says with a bow.

 No.698312

>>698307
>>698309
"Well that was nice of him. Guess everyone was stressed about something here, huh?"
She looks to Perfect Pair with a smile.
"Yeah, I might hang with everyone for awhile here as well. Thanks again for all you're doing."

 No.698313

>>698307
She looks at Arroz dispassionately. "Perhaps I could raise you again once we have caught the murderer. Unfortunately, the spell cannot hold forever, so I will have to let you go for the meantime."

She relays the messages from Arroz's extended family to the spirit, secretly wishing she were doing anything else.

"If that is all for now," she says to the spirit once everything is done, "we will meet again once your murderer is found. Until then, Arroz, may you rest in a deep and dreamless slumber. Codail." She dismisses the spirit and breaks the ritual circle, bidding the mourners farewell and preparing to head out with the rest of her companions.

>>698311
>>698307
"On second thoughts," she says, following Cutlass' example, "we already have a doctor on our ship, as the Captain has pointed out. I am certain we will get by without being treated immediately. We do very much appreciate the offer, Your Grace. It has been our pleasure to help in any way we can."

 No.698314

>>698307
"So uh, how come you're here? I thought queens would usually stay in a castle or something."
Cloud asks.

 No.698315

>>698313

"Un. Necessary. Information," Cutlass grumbles under her breath.

"It's not hard…"

 No.698316

>>698307
"Sweet, sure. Just here around the jaw."
Cloud says to the butler.

 No.698317

>>698311
Ossie blinks knowingly at your sudden change of behavior. You see her envelop her hooftips in shadow, as a kind of protective layer, before she touches the check. But the check doesn't seem to do anything as she puts it away, storing it in a small fold of shadow. "Please accept our gratitude, your majesty."

You see Chiu, Make Believe and your other followers mimic your bow and add their own gratitude.

Queen Toko smiles. "Excuse my servants, Captain; they'll be cleaning up the mess caused by this fight. Don't worry, those white parasites that emerged from Arroz's corpse have all been exterminated, and we will investigate to be sure that, however they got into Aristar, they will not infect others."

>>698309
>>698312
You, Paraiba, Squatz and Zerk head back to the changing room, and put the chest back on the desk where Alder originally stole it from.
"You're too kindhearted," Squatz says. "We could've taken those gems and blamed it on any number of things."
"Come on, it's their anniversary," Zerk says. "And Perfect Pair doesn't seem to be that bad."
"It's too hard stealing from someone you know well," Paraiba laments. "Let's go steal from strangers instead, huh?"

>>698313
"Yes, I understand. Pardon me," the butler says, stepping back.

>>698316
The butler puts his hoof out, and you see small ponies, each about the size of a coin, appear, made of aura. They hop onto your face, armed with construction tools like hammers, nails, chisels and saws. They start to use their tools on your face, but the sensation is quite pleasant and oddly like shaving. After they are done, the butler draws a small mirror from his pocket, and you see that your injuries are gone.
>Cloud 5/5

>>698314
>>698313
>>698311
"I was in the middle of some business with the leadership of the Honeydew family," Queen Toko says to Cloud. "Paperwork, politics, and paper. Unfortunate that Arroz's death had to occur in the middle of it. My security detail has been tearing their hair out. But I am safe, and I really ought to return to the business at hand. Please, enjoy your time on my island."

With this, the Queen steps away.

 No.698318

>>698312
"It was mostly a job-thing, so it wasn't personal."

>>698317
"I-I did not want to be too rude." he says to the others, before flashing a few of the gems before tucking them away. "Besides, I still took a few."

 No.698319

>>698317
>>698316
>>698314

"It was a pleasure making your acquaintance, your majesty. I hope we meet again under better circumstances," Cutlass says as she gives one last bow.

She then proceeds to fast walk out of the room and out of the building, a look of panic on her eyes. It's only once she is a fair ways away from the building that she is able to breath a sigh of relief.

"Right," she says in a fast, straight-to-business manner. "Under no circumstances is anyone to touch Cloud. Stay away from me," she says, pointing accusingly at Cloud.

"We'll cash that check as soon as possible," Cutlass then proceeds to say, looking to Ossie. "In fact, might you do that for me now? I don't trust anyone else to touch that thing. And, I'm sorry for entrusting it to you. You were the only one I could trust to handle it with the right amount of care. I'll be fine without your protection until then. I'll feel safer once you've returned to me, however."

"Chiu, I need you to head back to my ship. Tell one of the assassins to get word from the quarantine in the last town. I want to know if there's any update on the ponies infected by that parasite. This is for Cloud's sake. If you care about him as much as you claim to, you'll do it."

 No.698320

>>698317
"Hm?" She looks confused for a second, then her face falls. "Ah. Shite. Perhaps I should leave the talking to you from now on. I have never been much of a talker."

>>698317
"We thank you for your hispitality, Your Grace," she says with a formal bow. With everything done, she turns back to her companions.

>>698319
>>698316
"We should keep moving. We have been here far too long as is. The sooner we finish this case, the better. We should head to the cornerclub. Arroz suspects the showrunners there to be behind his death, after all."

>>698319
Once they're out of earshot, Thess lowers her voice conspiratorially. "What happened back there? You looked perturbed when the queen spoke to us. What did she do?"

 No.698321

>>698318
Cerulean nods in understanding to the job thing, and gives Alder a good pat on the back.
"I think you're doing the right thing here. Now, how about we go see what kind of trouble the others got themselves into, eh? I'd bet they'd need a night or two at a swanky hotel after…whatever they're doing, but I bet it isn't as much fun as we had."

 No.698322

>>698321
"T-Thank you, Cerulean." the griffon warbles, before nodding "I am actually not sure where the others have gotten off to, but I am certain they should not be hard to find."

 No.698323

>>698322
>[1d10] [1d10] Perception, wark!

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 3 = 3

 No.698324

>>698320
>>698316

"There is a… bizarre parasite on this island. The queen herself referenced it. It… moves the dead for lack of a better way of putting it. And, seems to have an adverse affect on the living. My inclination is to believe that it controls them."

"And, that… monster," Cutlass says, pointing back to the building they were just in, referring to the queen. "SHE is the one using it. I don't know how she makes it or where she gets it from. Or even how she is using it. But, it is her goal to use it to make everyone under her rule."

"The parasite is highly virulent. Many of our soldiers in our revolution were infected just by contacting the corpses that went wild. I'm not touching ANYTHING she gives us. And, I'm DEFINITELY not letting her doctors do ANYTHING to me. Unlike this idiot," Cutlass says, pointing to Cloud.

"I'm certain her intentions were malicious. I'm wearing this hat," she says, pointing out her Captain's hat. "But, she didn't ask a single question about it. I'm obviously not from here which means I should be part of the hunt. But, she had no issue with me being here. She's up to something, and I don't trust her. I'm happy you at least have the sense to pick up on it."

 No.698325

>>698317
Cloud is uneased by the small ponies hopping onto him, but when the butler holds up the mirror he feels better.
"Wow, nice job on the touch up. I feel great."

>>698317
"Yea, sure."
Cloud says as the Queen leaves.

>>698319
"Whoa, why are you calling me out? What's going on?"
Cloud says, insulted.

 No.698326

>Super shark finding powers activate (maybe)
[1d10]
[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 7 = 7

 No.698327


 No.698328

>>698327
>>698324
"Are you saying I have a zombie parasite in me? How was I supposed to know she was gonna try something like that in a room full of ponies?"

 No.698329

>>698324
her expression darkens. "Well now. That is certainly bad news. I felt something was wrong by the way you acted, so I played along. You know more about this place than I do, arguably. We will have to be extra careful from now on."

"Out of curiosity, would there happen to be any parasites left on board the ship? I would like to examine them. In all my years I have never heard of such a thing."

 No.698330

>>698328

"Well, the fact that I was denying treatment of my injuries when I'm… fairly badly injured is a good place to start being suspicious," Cutlass lectures him.

"Furthermore, you've SEEN the things!" Cutlass now shouts in exasperation. "You know the bees - our enemy - are using them. So, why would you TRUST them!?"

 No.698331

>>698329

"No, everyone infected we left in quarantine back in the last town."

 No.698332

>>698330
"Yea, I saw them coming off dead things! Not anypony living, and I doubt a queen would keep those things near her if they're that infectious."
Cloud retorts.

 No.698333

>>698321
>>698322
You take back to the streets to look for your crew. As before, you find Aristar's winding streets and complex architecture to be a challenge to navigate at first, and resort to asking directions of the locals without giving away too much about your allies. Along the way, you're also able to enjoy the sights of the town as night nears. After about an hour of searching, however, you learn of a commotion that occured earlier at a shrine, involving a corpse rising from the dead. News is traveling fast, but nobody's sure what happened, exactly.

Eventually, you catch sight of some mook crew members from Cutlass' ship across the street, who are in the middle of haggling for some local food and brews.

>>698320
>>698319
>>698325
Ossie nods and quickly heads for the street to search for a bank.

"You really could just ask me to do it the same way you asked Ossie to," Chiu says. She smiles at Cloud. "I'll be back, alright?"
She quickly trots toward where you left the ship.

"While we're investigating this murder we should also investigate the parasite's method of entering the body," Puddin says. "Earlier, saw it dive into people as if their bodies were water. But that may not have been the only way that they can enter the body. Hopefully, that apothecary will have some clues, assuming they've had a chance to study it."

 No.698334

>>698331
"Shame. A sample could prove wonders for learning more."

>>698333
"Good thinking. We should make a note to investigate the apothecary at some point. For now, though, we should keep moving towards the cornerclub."

She proceeds to do just that, assuming everyone else follows.

 No.698335

>>698332

"What, you think they just magically appeared on the dead bodies the moment they died? As if they weren't always there?"

>>698333

"Yeah yeah," Cutlass grumbles as Chiu leaves.

"What apothecary?" Cutlass asks, turning to Puddin.

>>698334

"Or infect our entire army."

 No.698336

>>698333
"Look, Cerulean. I think those are some of Cutlass's crew members, yes?" he asks, pointing them out. Though, they only found their way there thanks to Cerulean.

 No.698337

>>698333
"Stay safe out there."
Cloud says to Chiu as she trots off.

>>698335
"Come on, she probably just took more aura for that hunt thing or something."

 No.698338

>>698335
"…Army?" she parrots, looking somewhat dumbfounded. "I thought you only had the crew with you. Now there is an army involved?"

 No.698339

>>698336
>>698333
"I think so? Honestly, she had so many new faces with her, I can't remember them all. Still, they look out of place enough like we do so…maybe?" She shrugs as she approaches the crew members.
"Hey…guys? You were with a pony named Cutlass, right? You know where she is; I wanna see her face when I tell her she gets to stay in a super swanky hotel that likely has hot water and other junk she's probably killing others for."

 No.698340

>>698338

"Of course, I AM leading a revolution here. I wasn't exaggerating or even lying when I spoke to the leader of the Skeps."

 No.698341

>>698335
"According to Thessaly, some of Arroz's possible murderers run the apothecaries around here. If they had something to do with the murder, we can use that as a bargaining chip to get them to hand over their information. Cures, treatments, disposal, and so on."

>>698334
>>698337
>>698335
Following Arroz's instructions from earlier, you all head for the cornerclub as the sun dips toward the horizon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl4VnTNuS-0

The building is a simple and fairly old marble building by the water. There's a wide, two-storied lounge inside, with many honeycomb-like chairs, a plentiful assortment of alcohol to choose from behind the counter, and many barflies hanging around, chatting away, with many smoking, reading newspapers, and generally relaxing.

>>698336
>>698339
The mooks wave and greet you as you come over. "Hey, there you are!" one says. "We were pretty worried after you got teleported away. We've been out scouting on Sparkler's orders. Where's your ship? We should get the two crews linked up again."

As you talk, they explain that Cutlass' half of the party has been investigating a murder of Arroz, a member of the Honeydew family. In doing this, the party hopes to get in good with the Three Families that rule over Aristar, and gain an advantage over the Bee Queens. When asked where the other half of the party is, they give you directions to a cornerclub called the Bees' Needs.

 No.698342

>>698338
>>698341

"I'm leaving this to you," Cutlass says as they enter the bar. "These sorts of places are… not my forte," she says uncomfortably. "I'll wait by the entrance."

Cutlass takes a seat at whatever seating is available near the entrance. She looks around the bar to see if anyone is looking at her.

[1d10] to see anyone paying attention to her

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.698343

>>698340
She looks slightly incredulous. "Where did you ever get your own private army? Hardly the sort of thing one goes and buys at the local market."

>>698341
"Well this is homely," she comments as she enters, eyeing up the clientele. She delicately makes her way over to the bar and orders herself a whisky cocktail, first things first.

>>698342
She arches an eyebrow. "No drinks or anything? Some pirate you are," she says with a wry smile. "If you change your mind, I will pay. This time."

>>698337
"What about you, Cloud? Care for a drink?"

 No.698344

>>698343
>forgot to say
She also keeps an eye out for any unwanted attention. She and her companions stick out like a sore thumb in a place like this.
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.698345

>>698341
"Oh, no worries. It was just a few misshaps with a magical item." the griffon says, waving off the worries. We're docked in-town, if memory serves me correctly. We took a… strange route, but we ended up here all the same."

He cocks his head to the side, and hums "It might be important to deal with the Families soon. It sounds like the Bee Queens were going to 'negotiate' with them. The one I talked to withheld a lot, unfortunately, but there might be more going on. Should we go meet up with Cutlass at the Bees Needs, in that case?"

 No.698346

>>698341
"So this is where our lead is?"

>>698343
"Yea I'll go for one. Need to wind down after that whole funeral and queen stuff."

 No.698347

>>698343

"By rousing the hearts and minds of a downtrodden and oppressed people in a semi-destroyed city on this island, of course."

"To many… unsavory sorts about for such frivolity," Cutlass says in defense of her own piratiness by saying perhaps the least piratey thing of all time.

 No.698348

>>698341
>>698345
"Sure. Sounds like a good idea. Kinda a weird name though, don't you think?"

 No.698349

>>698346
"Grand. What will it be?"

>>698347
"Unbelievable." Completely nonplussed by your response, she shakes her head in dismay before turning back to Cloud.

 No.698350

>>698348
"Yes, incredibly weird. Perhaps it is some joke?"

 No.698351

>>698342
>>698343
>>698346
You take your seats at various places in the cornerclub, and the last adrenaline of the fight wears off in the easygoing atmosphere of the bar. Light jazz dances through the air, coming from a piano on an elevated platform near the back. Cutlass, however, notes a solemn and disquieting presence of a few ponies sitting by the piano. Plainly, silently distressed, there are two of them sitting togther, a mare and a stallion.

>>698345
>>698348
"I recommend it. You remember those white parasites that attacked us when we killed the bee guards in Potnia? Arroz's body rose from the dead at his own wake as a living corpse, and when he was destroyed, those popped out. They were destroyed quickly enough, but we need to keep track of everyone just in case an infection spreads, so we can quarrantine it. Here, while you do that, we'll take the Beesting and unite the two crews again."

As Cerulean mentions the name, the crewmates look around at one another. "Okay, I didn't want to be the one to say it, but yes, thank you!"
"We get it, you're beeponies, does it have to be in every establishment's name around here?"
"Puns are so lowbrow."

>Pause

 No.698352

>>698349
"I'm not a picky bat, pick whatever's good from this place."

 No.698589

Post sheets

 No.698590


 No.698591


 No.698594


 No.698595

File: 1530150237247.jpg (28.87 KB, 480x461, Peyout.jpg)


 No.698596

Cutlass 5/2
Thessaly 5/4
All else at full H/W

Last time on PQ…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl4VnTNuS-0

After getting sparse details about the murder and potential suspects from Arroz's ghost, the party was left with the following information:

-Arroz didn't see his killer, and therefore suspects that they were a professional assassin from outside the family.
-The killer left behind copious mud-splatters at the scene of the crime and didn't attempt to hide the body when doing so would have been easy, suggesting they were either careless, in a hurry to flee the scene, or that they deliberately left the body behind to be seen.
-The Honeydew leadership have a Skep clan pony by the name of Lazul as their prime suspect.
-Arroz named Fasol, Sares and Ouski of the Honeydews, and Lazul and Keraia of the Skeps as those who would have reason to hate him.
-Arroz was attempting to stop the Family's sale of Meli, a highly addictive drug, potentially making him unpopular among his fellow Honeydews. This also suggests he may have sympathizers within their ranks who could be reasoned with.
-Cutlass also has ample reason to suspect that Queen Toko has some control over the white fungal parasites that sprouted from Arroz's corpse during the fight.

They went to a cornerclub by the name of the Bees' Needs, as it was the hangout spot for Fasol, Sares and Ouski.

Alder and Cerulean, meanwhile, erunited after Alder ingratiated them with the Pattern Juggler and Perfect Pair by delivering a gift basket from the latter to the former. After leaving the carnival, they reunited with some of the crew of Cutlass' new ship, the Secret Assassins, who summarized what had been happening on their end to this point.

 No.698597

File: 1530151094935.gif (2.98 MB, 285x214, Moray Eel.gif)


 No.698598

>>698597
>>698595
"I recommend it. You remember those white parasites that attacked us when we killed the bee guards in Potnia? Arroz's body rose from the dead at his own wake as a living corpse, and when he was destroyed, those popped out. They were destroyed quickly enough, but we need to keep track of everyone just in case an infection spreads, so we can quarrantine it. Here, while you do that, we'll take the Beesting and unite the two crews again."

As Cerulean mentions the name, the crewmates look around at one another. "Okay, I didn't want to be the one to say it, but yes, thank you!"
"We get it, you're beeponies, does it have to be in every establishment's name around here?"
"Puns are so lowbrow."

>>698590
>>698591
>>698594
You take your seats at various places in the cornerclub, and the last adrenaline of the fight wears off in the easygoing atmosphere of the bar. Light jazz dances through the air, coming from a piano on an elevated platform near the back. Cutlass, however, notes a solemn and disquieting presence of a few ponies sitting by the piano. Plainly, silently distressed, there are two of them sitting togther, a mare and a stallion.

 No.698599

>>698598

Cutlass silently Soul Sights the stallion of the couple from across the bar.

>Soul Sight [1d10]


Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.698600

>>698598
"Troubling… no one else was infected when the parasites popped out of his body, correct? This could be especially troubling if one escaped our hold. Have we discovered any way to deal with them, or is it just a study and quarantine for now?"

 No.698601

>>698352
"As you wish."

>>698596
She goes over to the bar nonchalantly and sizes up the bartender. "One whiskey martini, please, and… one regular martini for my friend." She stops and thinks for a moment, then adds in a more hushed tone, "I am looking for someone who I have reason to believe frequents this place. Family business. What is your price for information?"

 No.698602

>>698598
"I dunno, I thought it was pretty clever. Still kinda odd, but then again, I'm not always the sharkest tool in the shed at times."

 No.698603

>>698599
You can't tell what's inside them (they're both beeponies) right now, but the stallion (a light red with a brown mane and orange eyes) and the mare (a light yellow with a lemon mane and green eyes) are clearly not happy with one another. They're having a quiet, tense conversation, and you can pick up small snippets of names. Most, you don't recognize and are too low to make out fully, but they mention Arroz frequently. The mare peers over her shoulder, and sees you staring at her. She frowns and quietly turns back around.

>>698600
"They say nobody was infected. The Bee Queen Toko was there, and when her security detachment saw the battle get out of hand – Arroz used some kind of mind control ability on everyone – they ran in and burned the parasites to death."

"It seemed odd how quickly the security detachment knew to burn them. They didn't shoot them, stab them or even stomp them, but went straight to the fire at the back of the shrine," another crew member says. "I suppose that may be a natural reaction to something like a parasite, but I saw each of them had guns. You'd think they'd go for that, since it was closest to them."

>>698602
Each of the crew members gazes blankly at you.
"Give it some more effort next time," one eventually croaks out painfully.

>>698601
The bartender serves the drinks without looking up at you, and returns to washing glasses.

"You're Thessaly," he says. "I've heard good word about you. You get the Family discount for light, everyday chit chat, daily gossip. Anything much deeper, then we talk prices. Who are you looking for?"

 No.698604

>>698598
"This place seems pretty nice."
Cloud says, tapping his hoof on the table along to the jazz music.

 No.698605

>>698604
The atmosphere is indeed relaxing, but you notice the beeponies having their conversation; the negativity in their presence is subtle, but weighs on the whole room. This isn't a phenomenon you've experienced so acutely before, and you suspect that your recent gaining of aura abilities is to credit for this heightened sense of awareness.

 No.698606

>>698603
"In that case, perhaps they are only susceptible to fire. I have no method of producing fire, so it may be a good idea to stock up on anything like alchemist's fire…"

 No.698607

>>698603

Defying her own social awkwardness, Cutlass stands up and crosses the bar to talk to the two beeponies. "Excuse me," she says in a polite tone. "I couldn't help but overhear you talking about Arroz. Terribly tragic thing, that. My condolences if you were his friends."

[1d10] for Whisper in Your Ear to gain their trust

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.698608

>>698606
"Ah, if that's what you're looking for, then try some of the apothecaries in the Honeydew side of town," a crew member suggests. "You should mention Sparkler's name there, as well. She's been going around, getting information from the locals, and I heard she got in good with the owner of many apothecaries around here.

 No.698609

>>698603
Cerulean just laughs a bit.
"Nah, it was kinda hard enough to think of that one. Anyway, I think we should get going before they leave."

 No.698610

>>698607
The two exchange a sharp glare, and you get the feeling that Arroz is a specific subject of tension between the two of them. After looking back at you, their gazes soften, but both look like they haven't gotten much sleep. "Cheers," they say, raising their glasses.
"My name's Skotadi," the mare says. "Were you familiar with him?"
"Lazul," the stallion adds.

 No.698611

>>698603
She sips her cocktail as she listens to the bartender. She can't help but smile at being acknowledged. "Fasol, Sares, and Ouski," she replies. "I heard they are here often. I just want to ask them some questions, that is all. Seen them lately?"

 No.698612

>>698609
"Ah, right right right!" the crew member says. "Just tell us where the Beesting is, and we'll be on our way. Go catch up with them! Remember, the Bees' Needs."

Paraiba informs the crew members of where you left the Beesting, and then Cutlass' crewmembers say their goodbyes and set off to go retrieve it.

 No.698613

>>698608
"Good idea! And, I suppose we could get some information from them if we used her name then?" he asks, humming a little

 No.698614

>>698611
The bartender grunts, a bit suspicious. "Ah, the terrible trio… upper lounge. That's where I last saw them."

After a long pause, he sets the polished glass upside-down on a rack along the others. "One with it is safe, two with it is a burden, and three with it, means it spreads to a thousand. You ever hear that riddle before?"

 No.698615

>>698613
"That sounds likely," the crewmate says as they leave to go retrieve the Beesting. "She's very thorough when conducting recon, and anyone who knows her name will help out anyone who introduces themselves as her friend."

 No.698616

>>698605
Cloud's ears perk up as he takes notice of the beeponies. After that Queen visiting them, he is a bit curious, even with that attack they saw when first coming to the island. He tries to nonchalantly listen in, hoping they don't notice.
>Overhear [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.698617

>>698610

"I'm afraid only through business," Cutlass answers as she sits herself at the table without waiting for permission.

"Though, I DID have the… fortune - or misfortune- of being one of the last people to hear his words. He was certainly a… divisive sort. You either loved him or hated him. I'm guessing by your demeanor you were on the former?"

[1d10] Whisper in Your Ear to get them talking

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.698618

>>698614
She tilts her head slightly. "I cannot say I have, no. Hmmm…" She mulls it over quietly, sipping her cocktail as she tries to figure it out in her head.

[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.698619

>>698616
>>698617
"One of us could definitely say that," Lazul says with an unsubtly bitter and spiteful twinge, staring daggers at Skotadi with a set jaw.
Skotadi shuts her eyes for a few seconds, and exhales heavily. "That statement gets more true every day."
"Yes, he certainly made a lot of enemies," Lazul adds. "Seemed to be a habit of his."
"And it wasn't reason to have– to kill him," Skotadi seethes through her teeth.
"I agree," Lazul spits back. "I can't imagine why anyone would resort to it."

 No.698620

>>698618
It suddenly clicks for you: A secret.

 No.698621

>>698619

Cutlass' eyes narrow at Skotadi. "I'm sorry," she says slowly. "I don't mean to be too pedantic, but it sounded as if you were about to say something else for a moment there. It was no reason to have what?"

[1d10] Whisper in Your Ear

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.698622

>>698620
She smirks. "Secrets. Very clever. That is a real twister. I have to remember that one." She pays for the drinks, plus a 10 bit tip for the information and the riddle, before thanking the bartender and heading back to Cloud with the cocktails.

>>698616
"Here you are." She hands you a martini cocktail. "Giorraíonn beirt bothar." She toasts and takes a sip.

"The bartender told me the trio we are looking for are somewhere on the second floor right now. Do you want to come with me, or stay with the captain? I can see she has found a lead of her own."

 No.698623

>>698619
Cloud sits back, continuing to listen.

 No.698624

>>698622
>>698621
>>698623
"It was no reason to have him killed," Skotadi says forcefully. She glares back at Lazul, who only looks away.
"Who said that someone needed to have him killed?" Lazul says dodgily. "It could have, and would have, happened of its own accord anyway."

 No.698625

>>698615
Alder heads on for the apothecaries on the other side of town, in that case! He'll stop by the Bees' Need's if it's on the way!

 No.698626

>>698624

"Well now, a hired hit among the families?" Cutlass questions. "In my experience, such a cowardly act is not something they would do. What makes you think that's the case here?"

[1d10] Whisper in Your Ear

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.698627

>>698624
Cloud glances around the room, looking to see if there's any other beeponies around or if it's just this couple.
>Perception (If needed) [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.698628

>>698627
There are plenty of others around, but as the conversation between these two gets more and more heated, you see a couple of them get up and leave, evidently looking uncomfortable. A couple of the more talkative groups glance at the arguing couple and whisper knowingly.

 No.698629

>>698626
"You're right, this is Family business," Lazul says, snapping a glare toward you. "Something that doesn't need commentary from vagabonds and pirates."
"Then why did you –!" Skotadi says, but catches the words in her throat. She stands, shaking somewhat. "…This isn't something we need to act out in front of everyone, Lazul."
"So why have you been saying so much in front of everyone? Like you kept saying you'd stop doing?"
"…I don't really know," Skotadi says, beginning to look with suspicion at Cutlass.

 No.698630

>>698628
>>698622
"Oh, thanks."
Cloud says as he grabs the martini, snapped out of his focus on the couple.
"I'll come with, looks like a fight might break out down here soon."

 No.698631

>>698625
>>698609
After parting from the crewmembers, you and the trio of thieves head from the Dextrose part of town toward the Honeydew territory as the sun sinks lower before the horizon.
"Hmm, we still need to check out the Pink Wave hotel," Paraiba says. "Let's hit the shops last if we know the others are at the Bees' Needs. I don't want them to run off too quickly again."

With this in mind, you gather directions for the Bees' Needs cornerclub from passerby. After about half an hour of wandering the streets, you find it. The building is a simple and fairly old marble building by the water. There's a wide, two-storied lounge inside, with many honeycomb-like chairs, a plentiful assortment of alcohol to choose from behind the counter, and many barflies hanging around, chatting away, with many smoking, reading newspapers, and generally relaxing. However, you see an argument taking place further in, between a stallion and a mare beepony, with Cutlas, Cloud and Thessaly nearby, listening.

 No.698632

>>698630
"Wise," she answers, looking warily at the growing altercation. "Best not to get involved, really." With that, she starts heading to the upstairs area, looking around for the three suspects.

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.698633

>>698629
>>698630
>>698622

Cutlass keeps a straight face as she looks from one to the other. She then sighs and takes her hat off with her hoof. She puts it on the table with a decent amount of force which causes the daggers hidden inside the hat to clang loudly as they jostle out of position and hit the table. Obviously, a hat shouldn't make this sort of sound, so the threatening implication should be clear. Though, she also hopes that Cloud and/or Thessaly hear the clang and look over to see what's happening. She continues to look at the two of them in a disturbingly silent manner considering the implied threat.

"Yes," she says at last in a sarcastic but still annoyed tone. "You've caught me. I'm a pirate. But," she says with a slight chuckle. "Here's the thing: the families are eager to blame anyone for this murder. They want to put this behind them."

"So, how about we take this conversation a little more seriously? Because, right now, it's sounding an awful like I've found our culprit. Now, wouldn't it be tragic if that's the misunderstanding the family heads came to?"

[1d10] Whisper in Your Ear

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.698634

>>698632
Cloud gets up to follow along.

 No.698635

>>698632
You realize, as you head up the stairs, that neither Arroz nor the bartender gave you any physical description of any of the suspects, so you'll have to ask around. Upon reaching the second level of the lounge, you see that it's largely an older crowd sitting around here. Many of them are accompanied by large bodyguards, intimidating and sharp-eyed black bumblebee ponies. The second floor is complex in layout, being stratified via many honeycomb platforms extending from the ground and built into the walls, creating a tall and multi-layered area.

 No.698636

>>698631
>>698633
>>698634
>>698632
Alder steps inside with Cerulean in tow, and goes to offer a wave to Cutlass and Cloud. Upon seeing them start to head upstairs, he follows along after them. He can say hello once they're somewhere more private, after all.

 No.698637

>>698636
>>698633
>tfw your companions are all too dense for your subtlety

 No.698638

>>698631
"Woah…this feels so night and day compared to all the noise outside and stuff."
She'll follow Alder through the place, but still looking around at all the new and neat things inside.

 No.698639

>>698633
"I'm hearing a lot of accusations, and I'm not seeing a lot of evidence," Lazul says, calmly leaning back into his chair. "Do you… have any you'd care to share, my eavesdropping guest? Or how about you, Skotadi, do you have something to back up what you've been spilling out ever since we got here?"
Skotadi falls quiet.
"Do you or don't you?" Lazul presses.
"Who are you?" Skotadi asks, glaring at you with no notice of Lazul.

 No.698640

>>698635
"Hm…" She surveys the rougher-looking crowd, trying to keep her head down as she observes the various patrons. She tries to look for groups of three, since the bartender implied they often could be found together.

[1d10]

>>698634
"We should split up," she suggests. "It might take a while to find who we are looking for. Try and look for threes. The barkeep called them the terrible trio, after all."

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.698641

>>698636
(Uh, stick with cutlass?)

 No.698642

>>698639

"I am Captain Cutlass. As I have implied, I have business with the families," Cutlass responds calmly. "A part of my business is getting this Arroz mess behind all of us. It will be a beneficial situation for many. But, in order to get there…" she looks to Lazul. "We need to find the one responsible."

Cutlass looks back to Skotadi. "If this stallion is making you feel uncomfortable or threatened, you need not worry. Trust me when I say that my allies are more than enough to protect you."

Then, Cutlass gives Skotadi a reassuring smile. "And, speaking on a personal level… you can do better. Anyone who makes you feel this way is not someone you should spend time with."

[1d10] Whisper in Your Ear

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.698643

>>698637
Alder settles down in to a chair next to Cutlass, trying to appear unrelated for now. This doesn't look like it's going very well, so he'll wait and see if she'll need help.

 No.698644

The large and somewhat imposing Cerulean walks up, immediately shouting out with some glee. Enough to have her grinning with her sharp, shark teeth.
"Everyone! You wouldn't believe the day we had today! Oh, sorry, didn't see you were talking. I'll shut up now."

 No.698645

>>698642
Tension runs high across her face, and the faint, lightning-like crackle of pink aura across Skotadi's body nearly threatens to boil over, making it appear that a fight could break out at any moment. But, after a second, she smiles. "We do have evidence, don't we Lazul?"
Lazul looks genuinely baffled. "You're making a mistake."
"Maybe I am, but I'd rather it be this way. It's upstairs."

>>698642
>>698643
>>698644
Cutlass notices Alder and Cerulean enter the cornerclub, and they see her defusing the tense situation.

 No.698646

>>698635
>>698640
"A trio, should be too hard. You got anything else that might help?"
Cloud asks before setting off to casually stroll through the second floor of the bar as he works away on his martini, keeping eye and bat ear out for any trio. And with the 'terrible' description, he tries to see if he can catch any feel like that that he picked up from that odd couple.
>Search [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.698647

>>698645
>>698644
>>698643

"Oh, Cerulean and Alder," Cutlass says with a smile as she turns to notice them. "What wonderful timing. Do me a favor, won't you? Make sure this one doesn't leave your sight," she says, pointing to Lazul.

"I do believe I've just solved many of our current problems. So, make sure this murderer doesn't leave your sights."

Cutlass looks to Skotadi as she stands up from her seat. "Thank you for understanding. You're making the right choice. Lead the way."

 No.698648

>>698634
>>698640
>>698646
On one of the honeycomb-shaped booths in the wall, you see three grizzled-looking beepony gangsters at a table. The one on the left is white, the one in the center is a honey-like orange, and the one on the right is a black bumblebeepony.
The one in the center looks up at Thessaly, and waves her over with a look of recognition, though Thessaly is positive she hasn't seen him before.

 No.698649

>>698647
Alder hums a little, and offers a short little nod. He's not the most menacing, but he stares intently at Lazul.

 No.698650

File: 1530159247672.jpg (45.07 KB, 1280x720, Hello.jpg)

>>698647
Hearing Cutlass' orders, though not quite getting what exactly is going on, Cerulean turns to Lazul and widens her grin at meeting a new face.
"Hello."

>Possibly scaring the guy

[1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.698651

>>698650
>>698649
Lazul, a red beepony, frowns as Cutlass leaves him with the two of you. You see him start to inch out of his chair, but Cerulean's smile causes him to freeze and sit back down. "Oh. Joy. You do one thing for the good of the Family, and everything comes crashing down upon you. So. We may as well introduce ourselves. You already know my name is Lazul. I assume you're working for that pirate? Or were you here about the death of Arroz?"

You recall hearing that name from the crew members earlier.

>>698647
You head up the stairs with Skotadi, to the second floor of the cornerclub. Upon reaching the second level of the lounge, you see that it's largely an older crowd sitting around here. Many of them are accompanied by large bodyguards, intimidating and sharp-eyed black bumblebee ponies. The second floor is complex in layout, being stratified via many honeycomb platforms extending from the ground and built into the walls, creating a tall and multi-layered area. Skotadi leads you to the back, where you see Thessaly and Cloud being waved to by an orange beepony sitting in a booth in the back. (See: >>698648)

 No.698652

>>698646
>>698648
"Looks like we shan't have to search much," she remarks to Cloud under her breath, meeting the bee pony's gaze. She steadily makes her way over to the trio.

"Hello there. I am looking for Fasol, Sares, and Ouski. Family business. Would you happen to be they?"

 No.698653

>>698648
Seeing the ponies gesture Thessaly over, Cloud comes over as well.

 No.698654

>>698651

"So, are we headed exactly where it seems we are headed?" Cutlass asks, gesturing to the rough looking bees at the table Thessaly is already headed toward.

 No.698655

>>698651
"Working with, more like. I do not believe we were here for Arroz, though."

 No.698656

>>698651
"I'm Cerulean, and…kinda not really? I'm working with her and been helping her out with stuff." She tilts her head.
"Who's Arroz? I don't know anything going on. Alder and I were at the circus this whole time. Was really fun; hope you can see the show tomorrow."

 No.698657

>>698652
>>698653
"What a remarkable bit of convenience," the honey-colored pony says. "I am Fasol. You're Thessaly, right? One of that Magoja guy's workers. I don't believe we've met yet." He gestures to the other beeponies. "These are my bodyguards. Boys, go get the other two lads for the lady."

The two guards nod and get up and leave.

"They'll just be a moment," Fasol says. "Shall I top off your drinks? Or do you prefer to get straight to business?"

>>698654
>>698652
>>698653
Cutlass arrives just as the guards get up, and hears the above exchange. Fasol's expression turns a little dark as he sees Skotadi, who has begun to cry slightly as you approach. "Sit down, if you please," Fasol says.

>>698655
>>698656
Lazul smirks grimly. "Then I suppose you don't really have a stake in all that Cutlass was saying about me being his murderer? Technically speaking, I'm not… but your Captain may not believe that after she learns what really happened. Don't suppose you'd let me go with that in mind, would you?"

>>698656
"That's the Pattern Juggler's performance?" Lazul asks. "I hear that the Bee Queens will be at the performance. I'm sure it'll be fun, but the afterparty is what I'm really looking forward to. Were you invited?"

 No.698658

>>698657

"Of course," Cutlass says courteously as she sits.

"I apologize, but you have me at a disadvantage here. To whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?"

 No.698659

>>698657
"I…don't know? She said to keep an eye on you so…there has to be a reason for it." Cerulean shrugs, though doesn't look intent on leaving him out of her sights.

>>698657
"If by after party you mean the really big evacuation they have planned, then yeah!"

 No.698660

>>698658

mysterious master thief roll [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.698661

>>698657
"I'll take a refresher, thanks."
Cloud says at the offer.

 No.698662

>>698657
"Mmmm… no. I do not trust you."

 No.698663

>>698658
"My name is Fasol. I oversee disribution of Meli through our authorized vendors," he explains. The moment he speaks, something unsettles you, and you sense there's more to his calm persona than you can perceive right now.

>>698661
He signals to a nearby waiter, and the waiter, after checking what drink you have, comes by to top it off.

 No.698664

>>698663

Cutlass observes Fasol for a second with a bemused expression. Something is off, but she can't put her hoof on it.

[1d10] Master Thief to figure it out

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Fasol. I am Captain Cutlass. I'm currently working to mitigate the hostility between the families as a result of this Arroz murder. It would seem you're able to help me in that regard."

Cutlass looks to Skotadi. "I assure you, this will end the best for everyone. I'm sorry for how difficult this is."

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.698665

>>698662
>>698659
Lazul nods, and resignation slowly causes his body to relax. "I understand. It really is all coming down upon me. But if it helps the Honeydews, then I'll accept my fate."

Lazul frowns when Cerulean brings up the evacuation mentioned by multiple sources at the circus.
"An evacuation?" Squatz asks.
"A planned evacuation of Aristar in preparation for the Bee Queens' reconquista reaching its borders," Lazul explains. "But I had hoped that, with the death of Arroz, that all of that would have been abated, and that we'd be able to stay in Aristar after all."
"How would that change anything?" Paraiba asks.

Lazul pauses obnoxiously and downs his drink. He taps the glass. "Would one of you be so kind as to order me a refill?"

 No.698666

>>698657
"I am. My reputation precedes me, it seems. I just do deliveries. That is all. I am not here for a delivery, however."

"I would appreciate a second one. Thank you. My associate here is Cloud Shear, by the way."

"Now then, if you have a moment, I would like to ask you some questions about Arroz, who was found dead recently, as I am sure you know. May I continue?"

If he agrees:

"First off, I would like to know your perception of Arroz's character. As I understand it, you two had a tense history. How would you describe your relationship with the deceased?"

 No.698667

>>698664

Roll once more real quick. [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.698668

>>698664
His whole demeanor is subtly disarming and quieting; it's the kind of atmosphere of professional liars and conartists that enables them to make off with a person's wealth without even sticking out of the crowd. You can tell that there will be much that he keeps hidden and much that he will try to distract you with. You haven't seen him use aura yet, but with how common its use is on Kaco Island so far, it's definitely a possibility that he can use and sense it. Caution is highly advised around him.

 No.698669

>>698666

"If you're trying to determine if they are the culprit, you can stop," Cutlass interjects. "I believe I have Cerulean and Alder detaining the culprit downstairs."

 No.698670

>>698663
Cloud nods to the waiter in thanks, taking a sip.
"So you mentioned business earlier. Let's get to that."

 No.698671

>>698669
She looks at you with an intrigued expression. "Are you quite certain of that?"

 No.698672

>>698671

"It depends on what she has to say," Cutlass says, gesturing to Skotadi, the beepony mare who arrived with Cutlass.

 No.698673

>>698666
>>698664
>>698670
"Murder isn't an accurate term," Fasol says. "It's too narrow. A person's death is part of a web of countless other events, just like the events of their life."

Skotadi looks a bit confused, and somewhat disturbed at Fasol's seeming attempts at redefining Arroz's murder, but remains quiet as he speaks.

"Arroz and I were naturally at odds," Fasol explains. "I oversee the distrubtion of the drug meli, and he was opposed to its very production because he was concerned about abuse and overdoses, especially among foreigners. There were many within the Honeydews who disliked him, and some who even outright accused him of treachery for undermining one of our primary sources of income, but the Family's current leadership allowed him to do as he liked, so long as he didn't break any rules."

"I didn't hate him, in fact, I wanted his charisma on my side. But we could have never been allies."

 No.698674

>>698665
"Sorry, I can't. I gotta keep an eye on you and stuff. But while someone does, how would killing some guy change an evacuation? Was this Arroz guy some kind of queen assassin or something?"

 No.698675

>>698673

Cutlass stares at Fasol with a thoughtful expression. She listens to him quietly as he speaks. And, when he is done, she continues to stare at him silently. She blinks several time as she weighs her options. Her curiosity demands that she try.

Finally, she opens her mouth to break the silence. "The sky is green," is all she says.

[1d10] Whisper in Your Ear

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.698676

>>698665
"Sorry, but not until our friend comes back. Though, if it is not too much, what about this Arroz made him so important? Did he or she do all the planning?"

 No.698677

>>698672
"She is a witness?" she asks. "If she knows something she should speak. We do not want to accuse the wrong person after all."

>>698673
"I see." She keeps a neutral expression as she ponders this for a while. "…I was informed that Fares and Ouski were around here somewhere. Have you seen them? I hear you are close with them."

 No.698678

>>698673
"So did he ever do anything against your trade, or was he just vocally against it?"

 No.698679

>>698674
>>698676
Lazul glances at the stairs, not answering your question.

Paraiba slaps down some gold and signals the bartender to refill the drink. Lazul smiles and nods. "I suppose I'm about to be found out, so I may as well answer.

"Arroz's goals ran against the Honeydew family's. Whereas we Skeps make our dirty money through the trade of weapons, likely stolen goods and even slaves, the Honeydews sell meli, a highly addictive drug that can kill if concentrated strongly enough. He was greatly concerned about a recent string of overdose deaths caused by first-time users accidentally purchasing stronger strains, and was trying to get meli's production shut off entirely until they could get the situation under control.

"I had my own personal animosity with him, one that I couldn't forgive, because it related to love. But I could at least admire what he was doing. However, many of the older members of the Honeydews saw him as formenting rebellion against the way of the Family. If you don't stamp out subversive elements as soon as they appear, they just cause more and more to crop up, and soon you'll have your whole system split down the middle between those who want to preserve it and those who want to overthrow it. Arroz's resistance wasn't just the resistance of one pony, but potential for much more.

"So then, the Bee Queens come to us with a proposition. In exchange for our loyalty, we survive the coming war, when the exterminations that have been taking place on the southern and eastern parts of the island reach Aristar."

You are reminded of the intense destruction you saw around Potnia.

"But, in order for this to be guaranteed, they would need a demonstration of loyalty from all Three Families. A joint effort that would demonstrate that we would be loyal to the traditions and ways of the past, those of the Royal Family."

 No.698680

>>698679
Cerulean had a glazed over look in her eyes, pretty much just staring at him, and trying to make sense of it all, but this was a bit beyond Cerulean's calibur.
"Uhh…right, totally. Makes total sense."

>>698676
Cerulean glances to Alder, shaking her head slightly with as subtle of a shrug as she can manage.

 No.698681

>>698677
"I sent my bodyguards to go look for Sares and Ouski earlier," Fasol says, glancing about the room. "I don't know what's keeping them, however."

>roll perception


>>698675
Fasol simply turns his head in confusion. He seems to have a strong will. "I'm sorry?" he asks.

>>698678
>>698677
"He was stirring up subversion against the Honeydews. One person is never just one person, and their actions are never in a vacuum. In trying - and succeeding - in getting the drug's production halted, he was creating many enemies, and also many allies. His sympathizers were mostly the younger crowd, those who had gone along with the ways of the Family only because their elders told them to do it, and who wanted to do things their own way. But we have our traditions and practices and businesses the way they are for a reason, and teaching others to rip apart the very system that cared for them all their lives is akin to suicide. But, the Family's leadership simply took no notice and allowed him his 'freedom.'

"Do you understand the predicament that people like myself were in?"

 No.698682

>>698681

Cutlass raises an eyebrow at Fasol's controlled response. Well, that's fine, she chose her words carefully, despite their oddness.

"Oh, did I say something meaningless in the middle of an important conversation?" she asks sarcastically. "Then, you understand how I feel. Forgive my curtness, but I'm not here for explanations or reasoning. I get why he was killed. I don't blame whoever did it. I'm not here for justice. I'm not here for whatever political stance this murder is standing for."

"I'm here for a very simple reason. I need the families to work together. And, they're not going to do that if we don't have an answer to the very simple question. Who killed Arroz and who ordered it to happen?"

[1d10] for normal persuasion

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.698683

>>698681
"Yea, I think I know what kind of predicament you're getting at. So how did you deal with it then?"

 No.698684

>>698681
>>698682
"My associate speaks wisely," she states plainly. "The why does not concern us. What does is the who, what, when and where. If we do not find out, there is a strong risk it will lead to bedlam between all three factions, and that is far from ideal for all parties. If you know something, you should tell us for your own good." She surveys the area for any sign of the other two suspects.

[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.698685

>>698679
"To put it simply, he was a sacrifice for our own survival," Lazul explains. "One that, I cannot deny, I enjoyed making."
The three thieves tense up, and Paraiba in particular looks pissed at Lazul's smug explanation.

>>698682
>>698683
>>698684
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CGMk_roNaE

Fasol scoffs at Cutlass' impatience. "Arroz's death was the Families working together. Arroz was at the scene of the crime on that night because of the deception of a heartbroken Skep. He was killed by a vengeful Dextrose. It was financed by three Honeydews who just wanted things to keep running as they always did. This is an example of what the Three Families should be. Of what we were, under the previous Royal Family.

"They say that these new Bee Queens have been waging war against many cities on this island as revenge for the previous generations of Royals being exiled. This is not accurate. There is no war on Kaco Island, only an extermination. The Queens have threatened to bring Aristar to its knees, and have the means to do so. But, knowing that it would not do to annihilate one of the most powerful and profitable cities on the island, they offered us an alternative to our deaths: Prove our loyalty to the old ways, by demonstrating what happens to rebels, malcontents, and those who defy the will of the Three Families."

>Paused

 No.698869

Post sheets

 No.698870

File: 1531358535742.png (155.5 KB, 900x695, Ankor Shark 3.png)


 No.698871


 No.698872


 No.698873


 No.698874


 No.698875

>>698872
Off to a great start

>>698870
>>698871
>>698873
Cutlass 5/2
Thessaly 5/4
All else at full H/W

Last time on PQ…

At the Bees' Needs Cornerclub, the party confronted Lazul and Fasol, both of whom were suspected by both Arroz and the other Honeydew family members as potentially having a hand in Arroz's murder.

Both Lazul and Fasol, despite initially being reticent, admitted to conspiring to have Arroz killed. Both asserted that Arroz had to be set up and killed as a kind of sacrifice by the conservative elements of the Three Families to the Bee Queens. In their view, this was necessary in order to prove their loyalty to the Bee Queens, and to the traditions of the past, and thereby earn the Queens' mercy for themselves and other loyalists when the Bee Queens decided to attack the city of Aristar.

Both Cerulean and Alder know that Queen Hurscurs of the Bee Queens will be at the Pattern Juggler's performance tomorrow, and that the two of them will have VIP access, being performers in the show. Presumably, the other Queens will be there as well, or if not, then clues to their whereabouts would be as well.

 No.698876

>>698874
>>698873
>>698871
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CGMk_roNaE

Fasol scoffs at Cutlass' impatience. "Arroz's death was the Families working together. Arroz was at the scene of the crime on that night because of the deception of a heartbroken Skep. He was killed by a vengeful Dextrose. It was financed by three Honeydews who just wanted things to keep running as they always did. This is an example of what the Three Families should be. Of what we were, under the previous Royal Family.

"They say that these new Bee Queens have been waging war against many cities on this island as revenge for the previous generations of Royals being exiled. This is not accurate. There is no war on Kaco Island, only an extermination. The Queens have threatened to bring Aristar to its knees, and have the means to do so. But, knowing that it would not do to annihilate one of the most powerful and profitable cities on the island, they offered us an alternative to our deaths: Prove our loyalty to the old ways, by demonstrating what happens to rebels, malcontents, and those who defy the will of the Three Families."

>>698870
>Alder
"To put it simply, he was a sacrifice for our own survival," Lazul explains. "One that, I cannot deny, I enjoyed making."
The three thieves tense up, and Paraiba in particular looks pissed at Lazul's smug explanation.

 No.698877


 No.698878

>>698877
>>698876
>see bottom post

 No.698879

>>698876
"Not to overstep bounds here," Clouds says after a pause from Fasol's explanation, "But can you really trust the Queens to not take the families out after you do all this dirty work?"

 No.698880

>>698879
"We have no choice but to trust one another," Fasol says with a sneer. "Even the Queens can't afford to lose all of us. If they destroy too much, they won't even have a kingdom left to rule over, and they can't afford that."

 No.698881

>>698876

"What they say is true," Cutlass says curtly. "The Bee Queens are killing everyone. And, I know for a fact that at least one does not intend to stop. Even if you prove your loyalty."

Cutlass pauses for a moment. "I can do something to prove it to. If you're willing to let me."

[1d10] to convince

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.698882

>>698881
Fasol scoffs with a cold arrogance. "Prove it to me? I'm inclined to say no and get you out of my cornerclub, but out of sheer curiosity, I just might agree. What proof do you have?"

 No.698884

>>698876
Cerulean looks confused by all this, not too keen on these sort of politics and other things.
"Okay, so…him getting killed was a good thing, but also a bad thing? Am I…am I following this right?"

 No.698885

>>698876
>>698884
"He likely didn't care much for him, so it wasn't very bad for him to kill his 'partner'."

 No.698886

>>698876
She looks intrigued. "So it was a conspiracy, then. To form an alliance with the Queens. I see now." She mulls this over for a moment. "So what happens now that we are in on your scheme?" She asks eventually, eyeballing Fasol over her drink. "What does that make us to you?"

 No.698887

>>698884
>>698885
"Arroz's death was good for all those who are going to be loyal to the Three Families and the Bee Queens, and bad for those who won't be," Lazul explains. "If you've seen any of the other towns on this island, and how they've been razed down to the very foundations, then you'll know what fate lies in store for those who oppose the Queens – and that includes you, if you dare to defy us. All we're doing is trying to ensure that the same won't happen to Aristar!"
"By sacrificing anyone who won't be loyal to you," Zerk sneers. "Wow, how generous of you."

 No.698888

>>698882

"I can see into people's souls. I can see their deepest desires. I spoke Queen Toko. I looked into her soul. I saw what she wants. And, it's certainly not life."

"If you allow me, I can prove it by looking into yours."

[1d10] to convince him to allow me so I don't have to roll later

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.698889

>>698887
"Well I mean, I live in the ocean, so I'd imagine these Queens or whatever else would have a lot of trouble trying to burn my home down," she replies as the thought of a fire being able to burn underwater crosses her mind.
"Well, why not just take on the queen? I mean," she begins to get angry as she's about to admit something she likely doesn't want to admit, "we sharks may be the apex out there, but a group of those stupid dolphins ganging up can beat one up."

 No.698890

>>698887
>>698889
"A… strange analogy, but a working one nonetheless."

 No.698891

>>698886
>>698888
As you speak with Fasol, the two bodyguards return, each armed notably with a large baton. Two older beeponies stand beside them, one red, the other black.
Fasol raises his glass to the old beeponies. "Saros, Ouski."

>>698886
He then looks back to you. "It really would be rather inconvenient for you to go to the Family leadership with this information. Even though we're doing the right thing for the sake of Aristar, they might take exception to our sacrificing Arroz in order to do it… could I bother all of you to drop dead?"

As he speaks those words, you feel a light pressure, coming from an unknown source, settle uncomfortably tightly around your shoulders. "You wouldn't have to, so long as you stayed silent."

>>698888
"I know enough about aura and other supernatural abilities and their users to know better than to trust someone's offer to use their power on me. This could be the activation condition for some other power. No thank you. Now, kindly vacate my cornerclub, won't you?"

 No.698892

>>698889
>>698890
A bead of sweat drips down Lazul's face, and he laughs with a twinge of despair. "For a while, we considered that… until we had seen what the Queens had begun to do to towns on the eastern and southern coasts of the island. Queens Hurscurs and Qaromarrow were able to destroy those towns alone with the Hunting Game ability. And that's not even to mention the sheer number of soldiers and undead monsters under Queen Toko's command. No… it was off the table almost immediately."

As Lazul rambles, you see a red and a blue unicorn mare, identical in appearance aside from the color palates, enter the cornerclub. You overhear them ask a few patrons if they've seen Captain Cutlass.

 No.698893

>>698891

Cutlass scoffs. "It's your funeral."

She then proceeds to get up and walk back downstairs.

>>698889
>>698885

Cutlass returns to Lazul, Alder, and Cerulean. "We're leaving," Cutlass says, gesturing for them to take Lazul with them.

Once they are out of the bar, she turns to Lazul and says, "Good news," in a semi-sarcastic tone. "I'm giving you a chance to live. All you have to do is testify and say that Fasol is the one who ordered the hit on Arroz. Or, you can just let yourself be the sacrificial lamb. I don't care either way. Both options end with this idiotic dispute behind us so we can move forward."

 No.698894

>>698893
"'Almost?' So it had some time to be on the table for people to think about it some more."
Cerulean thinks on it a bit, thinking they might still have some kind of hope.

>>698892
>>698893
At hearing the orders, Ceruleans looks to Cutlass.
"Hey, uhmm, do you know that unicorn over there?" She points to said red and blue unicorn mare.

 No.698895

>>698891
"The problem is, we have promised results. To both the Families and the deceased, rest him. So unless you can conjure up a scapegoat for us to use in your stead, we will be out of options, cúl tóna."

>>698893
"Where are you going? Our business here is not done."

 No.698896

>>698880
"Sounds like it's easy set up to make a quick change of population if they need it. I just wouldn't trust anypony with a grudge coming back, even if they're offering a truce."

 No.698897

>>698892
Hunting Game? Does this have to do with the method they have of detecting people? Through Aura, or something similar?"

>>698893
Alder lets out a confused warble, and offers a short shrug in response. The griffon gets up and follows after Cutlass, keeping Laxul under close watch.

 No.698898

>>698892
>>698894

Cutlass turns to look at the unicorns. "No, why?" she shrugs.

>>698895

"He's asked us to leave. So, I will respect his wishes."

 No.698899

>>698898
"I'unno. I just hear her asking about you."

 No.698900

>>698895
>>698896
>>698893
Fasol looks on with some confusion as Cutlass leaves. "Is she usually like this?"
He then ponders Thessaly's question. "If that is your stake in this conflict, then you can tell them. What will they do? Imprison us, torture us? It will be hell, but so much worse for them and you if the Queens find out. I have done my part to ensure that those who are truly loyal to the Queens will not suffer, and that those who oppose them will be marked for extermination. I did what I had to for the good of the Families. If the price I must pay for this is my torture and death, I will gladly pay that price."

>>698897
"It's an ability jointly used by Queen Hurscurs and Qaromarrow," Lazul explains. "If you are stung by any of the stingers used by the bee soldiers, then Qaromarrow gains some of your Aura. When she activates the Hunting Game, all those whose Aura she has taken are transported to a special plane, like a small dimension, created by their Aura. There, you are hunted unto extermination. I have not seen what it is like; I only know what I have been told."

>>698898
>>698894
>>698893
As Cutlass leaves the cornerclub, the two unicorns chase after her, and she recognizes them as Walah. "Waaaaaaiiiiit!" Walah complains. "It's me, I'm here with a message from Magoja! Where's Thessaly, is she still up there?"

Lazul glares at Cutlass and spits at her hooves. "You mean turn myself in for torture and execution? They won't lay a hoof on me, even if I confessed, unless they - or you - want the Queens to hunt you down and rip you into pieces. Why do you think we confessed after a little prodding? We've got the protection of the Queens for what we've done, and you don't have the power to take that away."

 No.698901

>>698900
"I remember hearing something of that. I do not believe I have been stung, as far as I can recall… I had assumed the hunt was here, not elsewhere. I-I will be more vigilant."

 No.698902

>>698900

Cutlass shrugs at Lazul. "We'll see about that protection. If you don't want to cooperate, whatever. You'll both go down. I tried to help you, but if you don't want to listen, that's your problem."

Then, she turns to Walah. "Oh!" she says, doing a double take. "I'm sorry. I didn't recognize you. Yes, Thessaly is still up there busy wasting her time talking to a brick wall. What business do you have?"

 No.698903

>>698900
"Oh yeah, I remember getting stung and felt kinda odd afterwards. Huh, so if she activates that, then she's just giving me the fast track to squishing her myself. Neat!"

 No.698904

>>698900
"Yea pretty much."
Cloud answers.
"Wait, so the Family heads don't even know? Or did they choose to not follow?"

 No.698905

>>698901
>>698902
>>698903
Lazul grits his teeth at Cutlass' harsh words, then looks back to Alder and Cerulean. "Be careful and see that you don't get stung if you haven't already. From what I have heard, the Queens are nigh-invincible within the Hunting Grounds while their 'Hunting Game' ability is active. They do not allow prey to fight back so easily. I don't know when they're going to activate the ability next, but when they attack Aristar, they are sure to use it as their trump card against all of the powerful Aura users in the Families."
"So, that means in a couple days, when they attack the city," Squatz points out.
"Most likely. Do be careful, and don't be stupid enough to oppose them!"


>>698902
Walah, currently in the form of two identical unicorns, one red and one white, pulls out a thick white notebook and flips through it. "Let's see, let's see, he's got me running and doing so many things, I lose track of half of it… Oh, here it is! He's been researching those white parasites that have been sighted all round the island, coming out of corpses and trying to leap into other bodies! They aren't native to Kaco Island, but are from a nearby island-turtle that recently began to swim near Kaco Island off to the north. Apparently, there's an herb that grows there as well, that Magoja thinks might be able to counteract their effects."

"There's more to the message, it looks like. For Thess– Ooh, umm, nevermind, pretend I didn't say that…" Walah trails off.

 No.698906

>>698900
"It seems that way," she answers, looking just as perplexed as Fasol. "We only just met today. She is quite a character."

"Hm. I do not want to make an enemy of anyone on this island, nor do I wish to be a snitch. It seems to me that your intentions are noble. Still, the Family heads need someone to blame. So, work with me. What would you have me tell them? Who should I point to?"

 No.698907

>>698904
>>698906
"Even though I, and my fellow loyalists, believe that the Familiy leaders are running things poorly, and are growing soft from their wealth and prosperity, I still have many allies and friends among them," Fasol says with a twinge of regret. "Deliver this message to them. Tell them that the Queens are here to take their well-earned revenge on the island, and that if they simply surrender themselves and allow them to kill whom they have come to kill, then all will be well… for most of them. I can't guarantee anyone's safety – some of them, like Aegos, are descended from those who drove off the previous royal family. Some will simply have to die, and I cannot do anything about that."

 No.698908

>>698905
>Walah's other clone is blue, not white

 No.698909

>>698905
Alder looks to the others, particularly Cutlass, and asks "Did you have some sort of… plan in mind for this?"

 No.698910

>>698905

"Useful information if we had the time or ability to leave this island," Cutlass says, pondering Walah's information. "Would Magoja be willing to send someone to go gather as much of that herb as possible and bring it to me by the end of tomorrow?"

"The stupid thing to do is die like a coward," Cutlass responds to Lazul with a sudden snap. "I've seen into Toko's soul. She doesn't just want revenge. She wants to kill everything. She wants to consume the entire world in that parasite she's found so she can own it all. You're expecting mercy for a psychopath who wants to feed you to a monster. You'll all die. I'm TRYING to save you!"

[1d10] Whisper in Your Ear to convince Lazul

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.698911

>>698905
"Well…I think its already too late for us to not opposed them…I think?"
Cerulean shrugs.

 No.698912

>>698907
"Wouldn't this sound better from you?"
Cloud questions, before shaking his head.
"You know, never mind. Maybe an outside party is better to get a message in. We'll do that. Or one of us will, at least."

 No.698913

>>698910
>>698909
>>698911
"But that's just it!" Walah says. "That island-turtle is a baby, so it's sticking very close to the island-turtle that we're on right now – it's only about a three hour trip there by boat. Thus, if you left tomorrow morning, you could be there and back relatively quickly. However, there are some pirate crews that are patrolling the island. Thus, he wants you to go there with the strength of your two ships, rather than send one of his own employees and getting them killed."

"Three hours? That's only a six hour round trip," Squatz points out. "Factoring in time for fighting and exploring the island, we could be back before rehearsal for the performance tomorrow."
"Oh yeah, Cutlass, we forgot to mention," Paraiba says. "We learned that at least one of the Queens is going to be at a circus show tomorrow, and possibly the other two Queens will be there as well. That could be a good place to set up am ambush or a kidnapping."

Lazul winces, clearly starting to crumble under the pressure. "Then WHAT do you suggest as an alternative!? You? You're going to beat them!? Hmm? I doubt it!"

 No.698914

>>698913
"Ooo, a chance to explore somewhere new? AND be back before the performance? Sign me up!"

 No.698915

>>698907
She looks at Cloud Shear, then back to Fasol. "I… think I understand. We will deliver your message, then. I think this will make for a beneficial arrangement."

"Now then. If that is all for now, we should get going." She takes her leave, nodding politely before leaving the bar to try and find Cutlass again.

 No.698916

>>698912
"If I went there in person and admitted to a murder, I'm not expecting a positive reception. I don't want them to suffer any more than what the Queens deem necessary."

>>698915
Fasol raises his glass in thanks to you. "May the Queens have mercy on you, then."

As you leave the cornerclub, you see Cutlass, Cerulean, Alder and their NPC entourages, speaking with Lazul and Walah. Walah waves to you, with a somewhat guilty look.

 No.698917

>>698916
"I meant the whole deal with the Queens, but it'd probably draw up the murder as well."
Cloud looks over as Thessaly leaves as well.
"Well I'm gonna head out. Thanks for the drinks, we'll deliver that message for ya."
Cloud says as he takes his leave to join up with the others.

 No.698918

>>698913

"I'm suggesting we work together," Cutlass talks to Lazul as if he's an idiot. "Really complicated concept, I know. This island ran out the royalty before. They can do it again."

"And, 'they're stronger this time' isn't an excuse. At least one of them is going to try to kill you either way. There is no way around that. At least fighting back gives you a chance of surviving it. A 100% chance of death vs a 99% chance of death is obvious. You take the choice that lets you live."

"And, I don't even think the odds are that dire. Like I said, the island has done it before. And, the only reason they've been successful so far is because idiots like you keep thinking they can be reasoned with and letting them go unopposed."

[1d10] Whisper in your Ear

Cutlass grumbles angrily. "We'll see how this next step goes," she says to Walah, Squatz, and Paraiba. "We may need to split up again. We still have a lot of groundwork to cover with these families. But, if this next conversation goes well, then they may be able to do the recruiting for us while we are gone."

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.698919

>>698913
"Ah, I see. I suppose it is worth a shot, yes?"

 No.698920

>>698919

"Would you be willing to split up again?"

 No.698921

>>698920
"It seems like the best option we have, so yes."

 No.698922

>>698921

"If all goes well, we may not need to," Cutlass says hopefully.

Then, she sighs.

 No.698923

>>698918
>>698916
She catches up to Cutlass. "Well, that went well. Fasol wants us to speak to the leaders and try to convince them to surrender to the Queens. Easier said than done, begorrah, but we do not have any obligation to do as he says. At least we got out of there in one piece."

"So, what is the plan, captain? We found our culprit. Now what?"

>>698921
>>698914
"Oh, by the way, I do not think we were properly introduced. I am Thessaly. I do odd jobs here in Aristar, and have recently been recruited by Captain Cutlass. And you are?"

 No.698925

>>698923
"Oh yeah, sorry, was so busy keeping an eye on that Lazul guy. My bad." She looks down at Thessaly with a wide smile.
"My name is Cerulean! Don't worry, I won't eat you."

 No.698926

>>698922
Alder giggles softly, before shrugging "Prepare for the worst though, yes?"

>>698923
He looks over to Thessaly and blinks a couple of times, before offering her a set of talons to shake "Alder, of Tribe Frostclaw. It is good to meet you."

 No.698927

>>698918
Lazul pauses as his cool and smug demeanor from earlier continues to whittle away. "…What makes you think that working with you is going to change anything? What forces do any of you have that could stack up against the Queens' and their Hunting Ground?"

>>698917
You join the others.

>>698919
>>698914
>>698923
"If we split our forces, we could possibly get more done," Zerk says. "But, it'd be harder on those who go to that island that Walah mentioned."
"There ARE a lot of pirates out there," Walah continues. "I don't know what they're after, but our scouts have seen them fly red jolly rogers, so they seem willing to kill. And the island itself is obviously dangerous, considering that it's where the white parasites are from."
"It's your call, Captain," Ossie says, popping out of Cutlass' shadow.

 No.698928

>>698922
>>698917
>view the last reply of >>698927

 No.698929

>>698927
"What's that about the parasites?"

 No.698930

>>698925
"I should certainly hope not." She doesn't seem to phased by Cerulean's intimidating appearance, more intrigued. "I cannot say I have seen many sharkponies before. Are you from the Ribcage?"

>>698926
She accepts the handshake. "Likewise. Have you been with the captain for long? I have only known her a few hours myself."

>>698927
She greets Walah, having not noticed her with the group before. "Oh. Walah. Good to see you. What brings you out here?"

 No.698932

>>698923

Cutlass can't help but let out a loud laugh at the suggestion of surrendering to the bees. "What a pointless conversation that was," she says. "Should have just left with me. It would have saved time."

"We're going back to the Honeydews. Assuming Queen Toko isn't there anymore, we're going to tell them what we've found out. We have Lazul to testify," she gestures to Lazul. "Whether he says he did it or that Fasol did it is up to him. Or he can tell the whole truth, I suppose."

"Either way, after that, we're telling them that there's a movement growing within all three families to undermine them and throw the higher ups out to dry to the Queens. From there, we convince them that appeasing the Queens is the worst idea imaginable. It won't be hard. I think…"

"If all that goes well, then with the families on our side, we've functionally recruited most of the island. From there, we go to a nearby island to gather an herb which supposedly has a chance of counteracting the parasite Toko is using. From there, we'll play it by ear."

>>698927

"Thus far, we have two pirate crews, and a militia all armed to the teeth with weapons provided by Magoja. Our pirate crews are full of individuals who have experience with Aura and can find a way to counteract their Hunting Ground. If we also have the families on our side, we'll have an army to match their own as well. It's the best possible chance this island is ever going to get."

"Also, accepting responsibility for your actions and making up for them is a good way to get back with your girlfriend. She's certainly your better half."

[1d10] Whisper in your Ear

"Oh, Ossie," Cutlass jumps slightly. "You're back. Did you cash the check successfully? Did anything seem out of place?"

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.698933

>>698930
"Nope. Equestrian waters! So everything is all so new and stuff to me, its just so exciting, wouldn't you agree?" Cerulean looks very happy and energetic as she talks, clearly more than happy to talk about her time here.

>>698927
"I'm up for whatever, as long as something gets done soon. All this sitting around while talking is REALLY starting to get boring for me."

 No.698934

>>698926

Cutlass just sighs again. "I wish that ONE thing would go well…"

She sounds as if she's referring to more than just this island.

 No.698935

>>698930
"Some time ago, we were crewmates. She got separated, and we only bumped into her again very recently. It was a relief to see her well."

>>698934
Alder frowns a little, and gives the mare a pat on the shoulder "I-It was merely a jest, Cutlass. I am sure things will go well."

 No.698936

>>698932
"Are you certain that is the best course of action?" she asks concernedly. "I think we should go with Fasol's plan, if only to avoid making enemies. I thought you wanted to stay under the radar. In fact, I feel it might be best if we leave Aristar as soon as possible. Bad things are coming this way, and I would rather not get any more entangled in them than I already am."

>>698933
"Yes, it is certainly a… unique place. You are here out of desire for adventure, I take it?"

 No.698937

>>698930
"Magoja here sent me with a message for Cutlass, and one for you as well," she says, placing extra emphasis on her last words. "Though, that one may have to wait until we are out of earshot," she adds in a low voice.

>>698929
>>698930
"Anyway," Walah explains, "Those white parasites that have been plaguing this island are from a small island that's only a few hours from here. There's also sightings of a small herb that Magoja believes can be used to kill tha parasites within a host's body, but he needs a sample of the herbs and of the parasites in order to study them further."

>>698932
"I want nothing to do with that pony again," Lazul snaps, then sighs. "… I'd need to see your forces in person."

"The check cleared without any problems. Also, they had some mints while I was there," Ossie says, handing you one. Her breath is indeed minty fresh.

>>698933
>>698932
"If I may make a suggestion, we may want to send out a scouting party to that island now," Zerk says. "We don't all need to be present for telling the Family heads about the conspiracy, and if we scout out the area tonight, we can get a better idea of what we'll be up against when we raid the island; they're more likely to have lax patrols in the nighttime, so it'll be easier to fight them off if we are attacked."

"A different option is to go there with both ships tonight," Ossie adds. "If we go there tonight and return in the morning with this possible cure for the white parasites, we may have a better chance of convincing the Families that their odds are better if they work with us, since we'll have tangible proof that we're competent."

 No.698938

>>698936
"Mmhmm! Well, it is with pirates so I guess I gotta do some money-earning things, but it was either that or swim solo, and its really unsafe to swim alone in unknown waters."

>>698937
"Hmm…can't say I'm the best at being sneaky, but I'm sure my shark-like senses can help scout things out."

 No.698939

>>698935
"I see. She is certainly a commanding figure. I can see how she managed to assemble such a large crew."

>>698938
"True. It is lucky we find ourselves in Cutlass' service, really. Seldom do you meet leaders with such an extensive following."

>>698935
>>698938
"Say, what do you make of this whole situation with the Families? I feel like we may have bitten off more than we can chew, myself."

>>698937
"A private message from Magoja? Color me intrigued," she remarks.

"I suppose we will be acting against Queen Toko, then, if Cutlass' suspicions are correct. Perhaps we should see about visiting this island first, then wrap up this whole murder business after. In case things go south, we should have a way to counteract the parasites. I think splitting up should be out of the question as well. If a brawl breaks out, we will have more safety in numbers."

 No.698940

>>698935

"Don't touch me," she says half-heartedly.

>>698937

"I like your thinking, Ossie," Cutlass says, pointing to her. "But, I'd rather get this incident behind everyone as soon as we can. It'll still be a good argument to have in our back pocket. If they still don't believe in us, we'll tell them what we plan to do next and maybe even convince them to back us if we come back successful. Then we'll have them trapped in their own words."

"Use your own ship," Cutlass says, pointing Zerk. "Your crew isn't allowed on mine when I'm not there. Go take some of your crew to scout out the island."

Upon being offered a mint, Cutlass looks at Ossie with an insulted expression. "Just what are you implying?" she asks haughtily.

>>698939

"Excuse me, are you talking about me behind my back?" Cutlass suddenly says, sounding insulted.

 No.698941

>>698939
"I can agree with the sentiment, but… we have twice the crew now, yes? That means something. I am not so sure we can just… disengage so easily."

 No.698942

>>698939
Cerulean gives Thessaly a winning smile.
"This is all beyond me! This is some really tricky swimming somepony has to do to avoid making things way worse. Plus, also really boring. I need to keep moving and swimming, ya know?"
She looks back at Cutlass with a slight grin.
"So yeah, I'm kinda glad we got reunited. Cutlass is very good at that talking stuff; which is good since that stuffs boring."

 No.698943

>>698937
"Oh sweet, that works out great since Cutlass is saying I got infected or something. I don't believe it really, but it wouldn't hurt to get those herbs to be safe."

 No.698944

>>698940
"I don't think you understand just how tasty these mints are," Ossie says. "And yeah, you know exactly what I'm suggesting. You'll recruit more people if you have fresh breath."

>>698940
>>698939
>>698938
>>698943
>>698941
Upon Cutlass suggesting that they split up, with half going to scout out the island, Ossie appears troubled. "Another party split? That could be dangerous, but you make a good point, Captain. What do the rest of you think? We should prepare for some fighting even if we're cautious. If those pirates are just hanging around the island, I suspect they're there for a good reason – so there may even be some treasure for the taking if we're smart."
"I'm down for it," Squatz says. "Just as long as we've got some healers, we can afford some fights." Paraiba and Zerk nod their agreement.
"I wanna beat up some motherfuckers already," Zerk concurs.

 No.698945

>>698940
"Only good things, captain, I assure you."

>>698941
She nods grimly. "That is what I was thinking as well. I do not think there is a way to win this sort of game, not truly. It is more about staying alive as long as we can."

>>698942
She chuckles. "That I can agree with. All this negotiating and politicking wears me out. I am not much of a social butterfly. Besides, Aristar is nice and all but I agree, a change of scenery wouldn't go astray."

>>698944
"I still think it is a bad idea. We should travel as one from now on, given our precarious position. I feel like Fasol might try to have us killed anyway, knowing what we know."

 No.698947

>>698944

"Well, I'm not suggesting HALF," Cutlass says, reigning everyone in a notch. "I'm suggesting you just go out there while we talk to the family heads and see what kind of forces we're up against. Don't engage unless you can't feasibly escape."

"Just the nameless riff-raff of your crew and a few actually competents should be enough for scouting. More than that and it's not scouting anymore."

>>698945

"Which leads me to my next point. If we show up in our meeting with the families with a whole entourage of pirates, it gives off the wrong message. We're not trying to threaten them into working of us. We're trying to work WITH them. We don't WANT everyone with us because we SHOULDN'T be preparing for a fight. That doesn't look good."

 No.698948

>>698947
*working FOR us

 No.698949

>>698944

Cutlass rolls her eyes at Ollie and extends her hoof to take a mint.

 No.698950

>>698945
"Stay alive, and go for the best outcome I suppose?"

 No.698951

>>698944
"I'd rather go deal with some pirates and the island instead of mob families if you ask me."

 No.698952

>>698950
>>698949
>>698947
>>698945
>>698942
>>698951
"In that case, let's head back to the ship and get our injuries treated, then we can determine who will go with whom," Ossie says. She also hands Cutlass a bag containing 5,000 gold coins. "Also, this was our 'thank you' from Queen Toko. I don't have any need for it, because I have a steady job with good benefits as it is. So, distribute it as you all see fit."

>Travel back to the ship?

 No.698953

>>698952
>ready to travel

 No.698954

>>698952

"When you say things like that, it hurts my feelings, Ossie," Cutlass says sarcastically. "You sound as if you don't consider yourself a pirate."

Cutlass pockets all of the money. Suck it.

Cutlass then leads the way back to their ship. "Godot can treat anyone still injured. He's quite skilled at his job," she says proudly to everyone following her.

>>698951

"Okay, I don't think we're understanding the mentality I'm going for here. You are scouting. S-C-O-U-T-I-N-G. It means to gather information. You are not 'dealing' with any pirates. You will die if you do that."

Cutlass pauses for a moment. "Then again, do what you want."

 No.698955

>>698947
"Fair point. Still, we should not split up on the trip to the island. That will be a dangerous mission, I feel."

>>698950
"That is the plan. At least, it is how I have survived thus far. I find it best to keep my head down more often than not."

>>698952
She nods. "Money is good. Safety is better. I say we go back to the ship for now and get our bearings. Besides, I would like to see it."

 No.698956

>>698952
>Good to travel

>>698954
"I said deal, not fight. That can involve scouting, talk, or whatever you want."

 No.698957

>>698955

"I don't even want them to land on the island. Just float near it and look at it with a telescope."

 No.698958

>>698952
>After buying the Alchemist's Fire, travel!

 No.698959

>>698956
>>698955
>>698954
>>698953
Zerk, Paraiba and Squatz give Cutlass a dirty look as she takes all the money for herself. Ossie rolls her eyes.

You head back to the northern side of town after Squatz explains what happened earlier with Cutlass' crewmates going to retrieve the Beesting and regroup the two ships so that they can perform minor repairs to the hull, mast, ropes and ensure that both ships are properly stocked. Upon arriving in the shipyard where the ships are left, you find the crew of the Beesting very occupied with training the recruits in swordplay, reloading and cleaning guns, and all manner of dirty pirate tricks. The aroma of grilling fish, vegetables and freshly brewed beer is tantalizing. They wave as you arrive, and Doctor Godot is quick to rush down to the dock, a bit aghast at your lingering injuries from the fights. Chiu is quick to follow after him.
"Alright, line up so I can treat your injuries in a timely manner," Godot says.
"What's new with the war?" Bee Holder says. "We've had our hooves full today with preparations for combat, but even so, the crews are eager to get back to fighting the Bees."

 No.698960

>>698959
Cloud runs over to Chiu once they return back t the ship's, already fixed up by the Queen's butler s he's not to worried about another treatment.
"How's things been going back here? We're just about to plan to ship off."

 No.698961

>>698960
"Things are cautiously optimistic with the Beestings right now, but Cutlass' crew is in quite a pickle. They got a message from one of the assassins whom Cutlass had sent to spy on the Bee Queens, and things are looking grim for him right now."

 No.698963

>>698959
She smiles satisfiedly as she sees both ships, eagerly stepping on board. "Finally. A way off this forsaken rock. She doesn't hesitate to get in line for treatment, apart from nodding hello to Chiu on the way. "Doctor Godot, I presume. I have heard a lot about you. My name is Thessaly. I was hired by Captain Cutlass today. Thankfully my injuries are not severe, but I trust you know what to do."

 No.698964

>>698959

"Thank you, Godot. I'm first, obviously," she says, potentially pushing others out of the way.

>>698961

Upon hearing this, Cutlass turns her head on a swivel and practically shrieks, "WHAT!? Who? What happened to him?"

 No.698965

>>698961
"Did he get caught?"
Cloud questions.
"But speaking of optimism, turns out there's an island just a little trip away from here that can deal with those parasites. We were gonna swing over and get this herb that helps take care of them. So, how are the infected ponies doing around here?"

 No.698966

>>698959
Alder looks to Bee Holder curiously, and asks "Did you know about this whole… Hunting Grounds thing? I was not planning on being stung to begin with, but doubly so now. What should our plan be?"

 No.698968

>>698959
Cerulean is busy drooling at the sight of the grilled fish, not even knowing there was a doctor here to treat her wounds.

 No.698969

>>698968
The crew serves you a heaping platter of freshly caught, and strange looking fish.

>>698965
"We haven't yet heard back from the scouts who were sent back to Potnia," Chiu says. "I hope they're alright. But Colobok…"
Chiu's expression becomes deeply angry when she says his name. "You need to see it."

>>698966
"Yes, Puddin Tame explained that to us a while back. He's the one who stung Cutlass in the first place, so that when the ability was activated, there would be another target for the Queens to attack, and thus this would buy him more time."

>>698963
>>698964
>>698965
>>698966
"Yes, good to meet you," Godot says to Thessaly, ushering you onto the ship, where you see a long table full of medical tools, herbs, ointments and so on. "Seems each time Cutlass leaves the ship we end up with more people on there. Soon we'll need another boat just to hold them all! But perhaps Cutlass should see that message first. Sparkler, bring it here!"

Godot eases Cutlass and Thessaly onto a couple of cushions, while Sparkler rushes over from Cutlass' ship, holding a paper airplane made out of shadows. The airplane is beat-up and crude looking, and it's a wonder that it could fly at all. Ossie gasps upon seeing it. "That's one of Colobok's, alright! Open it up already!"

https://youtu.be/mS8A1Gbq2CQ

Sparkler opens up the paper airplane and places it on the ground. Shadows spill from the paper and spread along the surface of the deck, becoming a scene like that of a movie. You see a donkey suspended from the ceiling, upside down. All but Thessaly recognize him as Colobok, one of Cutlass' assassins, and a good friend and ally to all on the crew, most of all to Ossie, Droplet and Sparkler. A sharp spike pierces one of his legs near the ankle, and it is by this which he is suspended. A blood-soaked bucket is directly below him, and his body is covered in sting wounds, bruises and deep cuts, discolored with signs of poison and infection. Colobok appears serene, his eyes shut with meditative calm despite his vile injuries.

As she watches the vision unfold, Ossie's face curls into horror, and then into a deep and burning fury.

>Paused

 No.698970

>>698969

Cutlass stares at the image for a while angrily. Her mind reels with thoughts and plans as her own anger comes over her. In moments such as these, she has a tendency to overreact and throw a temper tantrum which causes both herself and her enemies to lose much. But, she can't afford to do that here.

Or can she? In moments such as these, unholy retribution is certainly a nice and cathartic approach. She thinks what she could possibly do to bring down righteous fury to unleash justice upon these queens.

Then, a thought comes to her. It would completely change the timetable. It wouldn't be immediate. She'd have to find a way to delay the hunt. But, once it all panned out, it would be the most glorious chaos imaginable.

A grin begins to creep across Cutlass' face. She chuckles maniacally under her breath. The idea appeals to her greatly. The island WILL need new leadership. And, everyone on this accursed island HAS angered her greatly.

"Sparkler," she begins to ask inquisitively, containing her enthusiasm. "How would you feel about this island being the base of operations for the Gates of Justice that we're looking to set up?"

 No.698971

>>698970
"If it lets us kill every last one of them," Sparkler begins, bloodlust barely contained in her shivering gaze, "I'll let you do whatever you want to this island!"

>real pause



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